Scientists Develop Flexo-Electric Nanomaterial

Scientists Develop Flexo-Electric Nanomaterial

By Shinji Tutoru

UNIVERSITY OF TWENTE, ENSCHEDE, NETHERLANDS. The Catalan Institute of Nanoscience and Nanotechnology, Barcelona, Spain and Cornell University, New York, USA have announced the development of a flexo-electric nanomaterial. This ground-breaking innovation can either generate electricity when its shape is changed or when an electrical voltage is applied, change its shape.

Professor Guus Rijnders, one of the researchers, said that this flexo-electric nanomaterial has opened the doors to a completely new field of knowledge with very interesting applications. It can be used in making highly sensitive sensors. Also, it can be used as a material that will recharge a pacemaker inside a human’s body.

Electronics highly depend on piezoelectric materials. They are crystalline materials that can convert electrical power into pressure and vice versa. Its major drawback is that they contain lead which is bad for both health and the environment. Also, when it is made thinner, the piezoelectric effect decreases. The researchers were successful in developing a flexo-electric nanomaterial that is just 70 nanometers thick. Now, even though  the flexo-electric effect is very weak, the thinner it becomes, its effect becomes stronger.

The research team said that it will eventually be possible to develop flexo-electric materials with a thickness of just a few atomic layers. This will provide various interesting uses. Flexo-electric materials can be used in applications that will require a limited amount of power but will be hard to reach, like in cochlear implants or pacemakers inside an individual’s body. It will be a good material in creating ultra-sensitive sensors that can detect a single molecule. A molecule landing on vibrating sensors will make it fractionally heavier, thus, slightly slowing its vibration. The reduction in frequency can then be measured with the use of the flexo-electric effect.

Invention Scientists Develop Flexo-Electric Nanomaterial
Organization University of Twente
Researcher Professor Guus Rijnders & Team
Field(s) Nanotechnology, Nanophysics, NEMS, nanoelectromechanical systems, Electronic devices
Further Information

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