Science 369 (2020), 292–297
The publication has provided a general design strategy of constructing nanoscale structural and polar heterogeneity for improving the piezoelectric performance of Niobium-based materials. The study using oxide thin films with nanopillar structure (NNO) resulted in a very high value of effective piezoelectric coefficient (d33) of ~1098 picometers per volt with a high Curie temperature of ~450°C. The product is a lead-free composition of sodium niobite that contains only three elements (Na, Nb, and O). The formation of local heterogeneity with nanopillars in the perovskite structure is the basis for a general approach to designing and optimizing various functional materials.
A successful implementation of this strategy in bulk material is promising for producing Nb-based, lead-free bulk ceramic materials with competitive performance properties to lead zirconate titanate (PZT). With technology available and legislation restricting the use of lead in piezoelectric materials coming soon (RoHS), a substantial amount of niobium oxide will be demanded for piezoelectric applications annually. The market for piezoelectric devices is estimated to be $28.9bn in 2020 with applications across many industrial sectors including automotive, aerospace, biomedical and optics.
The selection process of the Charles Hatchett Award is concerned with technical excellence and originality, but also takes account of the social, economic and environmental advantages of any proposed application of niobium. The International Panel for the Charles Hatchett Award commented, ‘The electrification of transport is an increasingly important topic for new technologies to address and any improvement will affect millions of users even if it is largely hidden from view in small devices. This work has technical and scientific merit with the potential for global impact’
The annual Award, now in its 43rd year, is sponsored by CBMM and administered by Beta Technology. The award winners will be presented with their medals at the Institute of Materials, Minerals and Mining (IOM3) 2021 Premier Awards Dinner, to be held in London on 7th December.
To learn more about the Charles Hatchett Award click here.