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Lead-free Thin Film Piezoelectric Devices

Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory

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Technology Marketing SummaryIn a breakthrough discovery, Ramamoorthy Ramesh, Robert Zeches, and their research team at Berkeley Lab have developed a technology for lead-free piezoelectric materials using thin-film bismuth ferrite. In addition to being less hazardous to human health and the environment, the Berkeley Lab invention offers an order of magnitude more efficient performance, for all applications, than conventional lead-based piezoelectric materials. The invention can be used to fabricate rewritable data storage memory and may open the door for lead-free, environmentally sustainable data-storage components such as computer chips. DescriptionThe Berkeley Lab researchers demonstrated that the piezoelectric effect—the conversion of mechanical strain to electrical energy, and conversely the conversion of electrical energy to mechanical energy—strains or deforms thin-film bismuth ferrite up to approximately 1.5% of its original dimensions. This is a significant improvement over conventional lead-based piezoelectric materials, which are limited to a piezoelectric strain on the order of less than or equal to 1% only, and thus do not efficiently generate mechanical or electrical energy. Benefits* Made of a lead-free and abundant substance
* Higher efficiency than conventional piezoelectric materials
* More affordable than conventional materials such as lead and zirconium
Applications and Industries* Data storage devices
* Sensors
* Actuators
* Diesel fuel injectors
* Micropositioners
* Sonar devices
More InformationZeches, R.J., M.D. Rossell, J.X. Zhang, A.J. Hatt, Q. He, C.-H. Yang, A. Kumar, C.H. Wang, A. Melville, C. Adamo, G. Sheng, Y.-H. Chu, J.F. Ihlefeld, R. Erni, C. Ederer, V. Gopalan, L.Q. Chen, D.G. Schlom, N.A. Spaldin, L.W. Martin, R. Ramesh. “A Strain-Driven Morphotropic Phase Boundary in BiFeO3,” Science, Volume 26, November 13, 2009.

Yarris, Lynn. “Berkeley Researchers Take the Lead Out of Piezoelectrics, Berkeley Lab News Center, November 13, 2009.
Technology Status
Technology IDDevelopment StageAvailabilityPublishedLast Updated
IB-2779Development - Modeled conceptAvailable - Patent pending. Available for licensing or collaborative research.01/21/201101/21/2011

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