FRG: Domain Orientation and Anisotropy in Poled Piezoelectrics


  • Keith J. Bowman

  • John Blendell

  • R. Edwin Garcia

  • Elliott B. Slamovich

Research Description

Piezoelectric materials are critical for applications in sensors and actuators that enable medical ultrasound, therapies that promote bone healing, highly efficient portable power transformers, high performance diesel engines and many other applications involving conversion between electrical and mechanical energy. The goal of this research team is to improve our understanding of piezoelectrics by fully optimizing existing materials and enabling enhanced potential for industrial development of environmentally friendly, lead free piezoelectrics. The research project will also be directed towards developing educational materials on the science and engineering of piezoelectrics for students from middle school to beginning college. The educational materials will be used to enhance skill development in math and science and to foster interest in science and engineering. Exploration of crystallographic texture with domain orientation and anisotropy in poled, lead free piezoelectrics enables understanding of the interrelationships between texture and microstructure that can lead to replacement of lead-containing piezoelectrics. This project will couple domain textures and crystallographic textures in bulk materials to understand the development of piezoelectric and other anisotropic properties. Effects of poling field, poling temperature, conductivity and intrinsic materials properties such as electrical and thermal conductivity, elasticity and thermal expansion are critical aspects for developing this understanding. The project consists of development of processing approaches to produce bulk materials that can be used to fully describe the interplay between texture and anisotropy in the rapidly evolving classes of lead free piezoelectric materials. Project investigators are considering nanoscale and microscale interactions between ferroelastic and ferroelectric domains across grain boundaries as a function of stress state, temperature and processing history via scanned surface probe techniques. The experimental aspects are pivotal to describing the relationship of texture and microstructure to properties for comparison to incisive microstructure-based numerical simulations that capture the thermodynamics and physics occurring on the scale of the domains and grains. Both the experimental and computational aspects of this project will be carried out in collaboration with colleagues in the automobile and diesel engine industries as well as from the ceramics program of the Technical University of Darmstadt. This project is producing a better understanding of poling processes, the limitations imposed on poling by the underlying ferroelastic and ferroelectric domains and their interactions with grain boundaries and microstructure. Undergraduate and graduate student researchers are learning advanced techniques for numerical simulation of nanoscale and microscale effects on properties, sample preparation techniques for surface probe analysis and electron microscopy, surface probe techniques, electron microscopy and x-ray and neutron diffraction techniques.

Current Graduate Students:

  • Yuanyuan Jing
    Project Title: Effect of Grain Boundary Orientation on Switching in Thin Films
    Degree Seeking: PhD
  • Chris Fancher
    Project Title: Domain reorientation of Sodium Bismuth Titanate
    Degree Seeking: PhD
  • Meredith Rogers
    Project Title: Piezoelectric Response of Sodium Bismuth Titanate Thin Films
    Degree Seeking: PhD
  • Sarah Leach
    Project Title: Modeling Size Effects of Ferroelectric Films and Mesas
    Degree Seeking: PhD
  • Zizhao Zhao
    Project Title: Modeling Bulk Ferroelectric Ceramics Behavior
    Degree Seeking: PhD
  • Binzhi Li
    Project Title: Structure and Properties of Ba(Zr0.2Ti0.8)O3-x(Ba0.7Ca0.3)TiO3 Piezoelectric System
    Degree Seeking: MS
  • Zhiwen Liang
    Project Title: Development of Three-Dimensional Numerical Model to Simulate Textured Piezoelectric Properties
    Degree Seeking: PhD

Former Students:

  • Mr. Thomas Cool
    Undergraduate Institution: Purdue University
    Degree: BS MSE
  • Dr. Wonyoung Chang
    Undergraduate Institution: Hanyang University
    Graduate School MS: Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology
    Degree: Ph.D.
    Korea Institute of Science and Technology
  • Ms. Tiffany Finch
    Undergraduate Institution: Florida A&M University
    Degree: M.S.
  • Dr. Ben Iverson
    Undergraduate Institution: Purdue University
    Degree: Ph.D.
  • Jacob L. Jones
    Undergraduate Institution: Purdue University
    Degrees Completed: Bachelor of Science in Mechanical Engineering Purdue University, West Lafayette,1999
    Master of Science in Mechanical Engineering Purdue University , West Lafayette, 2001
    Degree: Ph.D.
    University of Florida
  • Dr. Thomas Key
    Undergraduate Institution: Northwestern University
    Degree: Ph.D.
    UES Systems, Dayton, Ohio
  • Hsin Yu Li
    Undergraduate Institution: National Chen Kung University
    Degree: PhD
  • Sudhanshu Mallick
    Undergraduate Institution: Indian Institute of Technology
    Degree: Ph.D.
    India Institute of Technology, Bombay

Partner Organizations:

  • Piezotechnologies LLC, Indianapolis, IN. Financial Support; Facilities; Collaborative Research; Personnel Exchanges
  • Brookhaven National Laboratory NSLS: Facilities
  • Lujan Science Center, 1-Hippo Device.
  • Juergen Roedel, Ceramics Institute, Technical University of Darmstadt
  • Mark Hoffman, Materials Science and Engineering, University of New South Wales

Research and Education Activities:


We have identified the substitution pattern of sodium in bismuth titanate and begun to clarify better procedures for comparing Rietveld-based texture simulations and conventional pole figure calculations of orientation distribution functions.

This material is based upon work supported by the National Science Foundation under Grant No. 0224991 and 0805022.
Any opinions, findings and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this material are those