Nearly everyone uses piezoelectrics: Now scientists know more about how they actually work

Thursday, January 30, 2014 - 14:00 in Physics & Chemistry

Piezoelectrics, materials that can change mechanical stress to electricity and back again, are everywhere in modern life. Computer hard drives. Loudspeakers. Medical ultrasound. Sonar. But there are major gaps in our understanding of how they work. Now researchers believe they've learned why one of the main classes of these materials, known as relaxors, behaves in distinctly different ways from the rest. The discovery comes in the shape of a butterfly.

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