Influence of composition and dopant on photostriction in lanthanum-modified lead zirconate titanate ceramics

P. Poosanaas, K. Tonooka, I. R. Abothu, S. Komarneni, K. Uchino

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The anomalous photovoltaic effect, i.e., substantial voltage generation exceeding band gap energies, by homogeneous illumination in the non-centrosymmetric materials is a well-known phenomenon. This mechanism is fundamentally different from those observed in heterojunctions/homojunctions (i.e., solar cells) based on semiconductor materials with a symmetric crystal structure. Recently, light induced strain termed as Photostriction, has been demonstrated in non-centrosymmetric perovskite ferroelectrics as lanthanum-modified lead zirconate titanate (PLZT) ceramics. PLZT ceramics have gained considerable attention due to their large photostrictive responses. When a light is illuminated on a polarized photostrictive bimorph, a large photovoltage of the order of kV/mm is generated across its length in the spontaneous polarization direction which results in strain generation by converse-piezoelectric effect and caused the bimorph to deflect in the direction away from the illumination. The photoactuation has been demonstrated in PLZT ceramic wafers as two different kinds of actuators, (i) photo-driven relay and (ii) photo-driven micro walking machine. These materials are also promising for the photo-acoustic device (e.g., Photophone) of the optical communication system. However, photostriction being a recently observed phenomenon, is far from optimum condition. It is expected that the optimization with respect to materials and microstructural characteristics will lead to a substantial enhancement in the photoactuation efficiency. Increasing the photoactuation efficiency will eliminate the need for electrical energy, and will open up numerous possibilities of contactless actuators. In this paper the influence of composition dependence and impurity doping effects on microstructure and photostrictive responses of PLZT ceramics have been investigated.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)439-445
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Intelligent Material Systems and Structures
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jun 1999

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General Materials Science
  • Mechanical Engineering


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