Solar cell

solar cellsphotovoltaic cellphotovoltaic cells
This type of cell allows more flexible use of materials and is typically manufactured by screen printing or ultrasonic nozzles, with the potential for lower processing costs than those used for bulk solar cells. However, the dyes in these cells also suffer from degradation under heat and UV light and the cell casing is difficult to seal due to the solvents used in assembly. The first commercial shipment of DSSC solar modules occurred in July 2009 from G24i Innovations.


humidifiershumidificationartificially humidified
Spray nozzle can become clogged in hard water situations, necessitating the use of water filter, periodic cleaning of nozzle, or nozzle replacement. Disperses any minerals in the water into the airstream. Air ionizer. Dehumidifier. Evaporative cooler. Hygrometer, for measuring humidity. Ultrasonic nozzle.


ceramicsceramic materialsceramicist
Piezoelectricity, a link between electrical and mechanical response, is exhibited by a large number of ceramic materials, including the quartz used to measure time in watches and other electronics. Such devices use both properties of piezoelectrics, using electricity to produce a mechanical motion (powering the device) and then using this mechanical motion to produce electricity (generating a signal). The unit of time measured is the natural interval required for electricity to be converted into mechanical energy and back again. The piezoelectric effect is generally stronger in materials that also exhibit pyroelectricity, and all pyroelectric materials are also piezoelectric.

Pierre Curie

PierreCurie, PierreCurie
In 1880 Pierre and his older brother Jacques (1856–1941) demonstrated that an electric potential was generated when crystals were compressed, i.e. piezoelectricity. To aid this work they invented the piezoelectric quartz electrometer. The following year they demonstrated the reverse effect: that crystals could be made to deform when subject to an electric field. Almost all digital electronic circuits now rely on this in the form of crystal oscillators. In subsequent work on magnetism Pierre Curie defined the Curie scale. This work also involved delicate equipment - balances, electrometers, etc.

Scanning probe microscopy

scanning probe microscopescanning probescanning probe microscopies
Scanning Probe Microscope - An Animated Explanation of its Piezoelectric Crystals

Guitar amplifier

amplifiersamplifierguitar amplifiers
The input of modern guitar amplifiers is a 1/4" jack, which is fed a signal from an electro-magnetic pickup (from an electric guitar) or a piezoelectric pickup (usually from an acoustic guitar) using a patch cord, or a wireless transmitter. For electric guitar players, their choice of guitar amp and the settings they use on the amplifier are a key part of their signature tone or sound. Some guitar players are longtime users of a specific amp brand or model. Guitarists may also use external effects pedals to alter the sound of their tone before the signal reaches the amplifier.

Quartz clock

quartz watchquartzquartz movement
However, quartz is also a piezoelectric material: that is, when a quartz crystal is subject to mechanical stress, such as bending, it accumulates electrical charge across some planes. In a reverse effect, if charges are placed across the crystal plane, quartz crystals will bend. Since quartz can be directly driven (to flex) by an electric signal, no additional transducer is required to use it in a resonator. Similar crystals are used in low-end phonograph cartridges: The movement of the stylus (needle) flexes a quartz crystal, which produces a small voltage, which is amplified and played through speakers. Quartz microphones are still available, though not common.


pyroelectricPyroelectric effectPyroelectric crystal
The side between kinetic and electrical corners represents the piezoelectric effect and produces no heat. Pyroelectric charge in minerals develops on the opposite faces of asymmetric crystals. The direction in which the propagation of the charge tends is usually constant throughout a pyroelectric material, but, in some materials, this direction can be changed by a nearby electric field. These materials are said to exhibit ferroelectricity. All known pyroelectric materials are also piezoelectric with the exceptions of boron aluminum nitride (BAlN) and boron gallium nitride (BGaN) at certain compositions, the two properties being closely related.

Antoine César Becquerel

Antoine-César BecquerelAntoine BecquerelAntoine Cesar Becquerel
In 1820, following the work of René Just Haüy, he found that pressure can induce electricity in every material, attributing the effect to surface interactions (this is not piezoelectricity). In 1825 he invented a differential galvanometer for the accurate measurement of electrical resistance. In 1829 he invented a constant-current electrochemical cell, the forerunner of the Daniell cell. In 1839, working with his son A. E. Becquerel, he discovered the photovoltaic effect on an electrode immersed in a conductive liquid. His earliest work was mineralogical in character, but he soon turned his attention to the study of electricity and especially of electrochemistry.


The piezoelectric effect, discovered by Jacques and Pierre Curie in 1880, was useful in transducers to generate and detect ultrasonic waves in air and water. Ultrasound is defined by the American National Standards Institute as "sound at frequencies greater than 20 kHz". In air at atmospheric pressure, ultrasonic waves have wavelengths of 1.9 cm or less. The upper frequency limit in humans (approximately 20 kHz) is due to limitations of the middle ear. Auditory sensation can occur if high‐intensity ultrasound is fed directly into the human skull and reaches the cochlea through bone conduction, without passing through the middle ear.


ASDICvariable depth sonaractive sonar
The required dimensions were too big for ADP crystals, so in the early 1950s magnetostrictive and barium titanate piezoelectric systems were developed, but these had problems achieving uniform impedance characteristics, and the beam pattern suffered. Barium titanate was then replaced with more stable lead zirconate titanate (PZT), and the frequency was lowered to 5 kHz. The US fleet used this material in the AN/SQS-23 sonar for several decades. The SQS-23 sonar first used magnetostrictive nickel transducers, but these weighed several tons, and nickel was expensive and considered a critical material; piezoelectric transducers were therefore substituted.


hydrophoneshydrophobicunderwater microphone
They developed a piezoelectric hydrophone by increasing the power of the signal with a vacuum tube amplifier; the high acoustic impedance of piezoelectric materials facilitated their use as underwater transducers. The same piezoelectric plate could be vibrated by an electrical oscillator to produce the sound pulses. Later in the war, the British Admiralty belatedly convened a scientific panel to advise on how to combat U-boats. It included the Australian physicist William Henry Bragg and the New Zealand physicist Sir Ernest Rutherford. They concluded that the best hope was to use hydrophones to listen for submarines. Rutherford's research produced his sole patent for a hydrophone.

Harvey L. Berger

In 1973 and 1974 Berger was working to counter the effects of the 1973 oil crisis, believing that the advantages of ultrasonic spray would make heating a building more efficient; an idea for which he later file and received one of his many US Patents on a design of an ultrasonic nozzle. By the time Berger and his team had worked out a viable commercial design, the woes of oil crisis had passed and he set out to find the right applications for his new technology.

Spray nozzle

hydraulic nozzles
This type of spray nozzle utilizes high frequency (20–180 kHz) vibration to produce narrow drop-size distribution and low velocity spray from a liquid. The vibration of a piezoelectric crystal causes capillary waves on the nozzle surface liquid film. An Ultrasonic nozzle can be key to high transfer efficiency and process stability as they are very hard to clog. They are particularly useful in medical device coatings for their reliability. Electrostatic charging of sprays is very useful for high transfer efficiency. Examples are the industrial spraying of coatings (paint) and applying lubricant oils. The charging is at high voltage (20–40 kV) but low current.

Paul-Jacques Curie

Jacques CurieJacques
The major legacy of Jacques Curie is the discovery of the piezoelectric effect with his brother Pierre in 1880. The two brothers were then laboratory assistants at the Faculty of Sciences of Paris, under the direction of Charles Friedel. The accounts of their discovery generally give Jacques Curie only a minor role in favor of his brother Pierre. Doubtless the comparison between the latter's brilliant career and the more quiet one of Jacques gives some reason for this, however there is no evidence that Jacques was limited to a minor role: In particular he had more experience than his brother in the study of pyroelectricity.

Barium titanate

BaTiO 3 BaTiO3barium titanate, BaTiO 3
It is a piezoelectric material used in microphones and other transducers. The spontaneous polarization of barium titanate single crystals at room temperature range between 0.15 C/m 2 in earlier studies, and 0.26 C/m 2 in more recent publications, and its Curie temperature is between 120 and 130 °C. The differences are related to the growth technique, with earlier flux grown crystals being less pure than current crystals grown with the Czochralski process, which therefore have a larger spontaneous polarization and a higher Curie temperature. As a piezoelectric material, it has been largely replaced by lead zirconate titanate, also known as PZT.


guitarslead guitarbass
Piezoelectric, or piezo, pickups represent another class of pickup. These employ piezoelectricity to generate the musical signal and are popular in hybrid electro-acoustic guitars. A crystal is located under each string, usually in the saddle. When the string vibrates, the shape of the crystal is distorted, and the stresses associated with this change produce tiny voltages across the crystal that can be amplified and manipulated. Piezo pickups usually require a powered pre-amplifier to lift their output to match that of electromagnetic pickups. Power is typically delivered by an on-board battery.

Lead zirconate titanate

PZTLead Zirconate titanate (PZT)Lead zirconium titanate
Also called Lead zirconium titanate, it is a ceramic perovskite material that shows a marked piezoelectric effect, meaning that the compound changes shape when an electric field is applied. It is used in a number of practical applications such as ultrasonic transducers and piezoelectric resonators. It is a white to off-white solid. Lead zirconium titanate was first developed around 1952 at the Tokyo Institute of Technology. Compared to barium titanate, a previously discovered metallic oxide-based piezoelectric material, Lead zirconium titanate exhibits greater sensitivity and has a higher operating temperature.

Near-field scanning optical microscope

near-field scanning optical microscopyscanning near-field optical microscopynear field scanning optical microscopy
The detector is then rastered across the sample using a piezoelectric stage. The scanning can either be done at a constant height or with regulated height by using a feedback mechanism. There exist NSOM which can be operated in so-called aperture mode and NSOM for operation in a non-aperture mode. As illustrated, the tips used in the apertureless mode are very sharp and do not have a metal coating. Though there are many issues associated with the apertured tips (heating, artifacts, contrast, sensitivity, topology and interference amongst others), aperture mode remains more popular.

Gabriel Lippmann

Gabriel Jonas LippmannLippmannGabriel Lippman
In 1881, Lippmann predicted the converse piezoelectric effect. Above all, Lippmann is remembered as the inventor of a method for reproducing colours by photography, based on the interference phenomenon, which earned him the Nobel Prize in Physics for 1908. In 1886, Lippmann's interest turned to a method of fixing the colours of the solar spectrum on a photographic plate. On 2 February 1891, he announced to the Academy of Sciences: "I have succeeded in obtaining the image of the spectrum with its colours on a photographic plate whereby the image remains fixed and can remain in daylight without deterioration."

Stress (mechanics)

stressstressestensile stress
Stress may also be imposed on a material without the application of net forces, for example by changes in temperature or chemical composition, or by external electromagnetic fields (as in piezoelectric and magnetostrictive materials). The relation between mechanical stress, deformation, and the rate of change of deformation can be quite complicated, although a linear approximation may be adequate in practice if the quantities are sufficiently small. Stress that exceeds certain strength limits of the material will result in permanent deformation (such as plastic flow, fracture, cavitation) or even change its crystal structure and chemical composition.

Piezo ignition

piezoelectric igniterpiezo spark generatorpiezo-electric
Piezo ignition uses the principle of piezoelectricity, which, in short, is the electric charge that accumulates in some materials in response to high pressure. It consists of a small, spring-loaded hammer which, when a button is pressed, hits a crystal of PZT or quartz crystal. Quartz is piezoelectric, which means that it creates a voltage when deformed. This sudden forceful deformation produces a high voltage and subsequent electrical discharge, which ignites the gas. No external electric connection is required, though wires are sometimes used to locate the sparking location away from the crystal itself.

Paul Langevin

LangevinP. LangevinPaul-Langevin
His most famous work was in the use of ultrasound using Pierre Curie's piezoelectric effect. During World War I, he began working on the use of these sounds to detect submarines through echo location. However the war was over by the time it was operational. During his career, Paul Langevin also spread the theory of relativity in academic circles in France and created what is now called the twin paradox. In 1898, he married Emma Jeanne Desfosses, with whom he had four children, Jean, André, Madeleine and Hélène.


ferroelectricferroelectricsFerroelectric effect
Ferroelectric materials are required by symmetry considerations to be also piezoelectric and pyroelectric. The combined properties of memory, piezoelectricity, and pyroelectricity make ferroelectric capacitors very useful, e.g. for sensor applications.

Potassium sodium tartrate

Rochelle saltSeignette's saltSodium potassium tartrate
In 1824, Sir David Brewster demonstrated piezoelectric effects using Rochelle salts, which led to him naming the effect pyroelectricity. In 1919, Alexander McLean Nicolson worked with Rochelle salt developing audio related inventions like microphones and speakers at Bell Labs.