Ultrahigh piezoelectricity in lead-free piezoceramics by synergistic design
© 2020 Following increased environmental concerns on the toxicity of lead, the discovery of ultrahigh piezoelectricity in lead-free piezoelectric materials is critical for the substitution of commercial lead zirconate titanate (PZT) ceramics in numerous electronic devices. In this work, a synergistic design strategy is proposed to enhance the piezoelectricity in lead-free piezoelectric materials by flattening the Gibbs free energy density profile, via the coexistence of multiple phases and local structural heterogeneity. This strategic material design approach is based on first-principles calculations combined with Landau phenomenological theory and phase field simulations. Sustainable Stannum-doped BaTiO3 lead-free ferroelectric ceramics are prepared to validate our proposed mechanism, and a giant piezoelectric coefficient d33 > 1100 pC/N is achieved, being the highest value reported in lead-free piezoceramics. The mechanism and paradigm of the excellent piezoelectricity achieved here provides a feasible solution for replacing lead-based piezoelectrics by lead-free counterparts.