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Phys Rev Lett. 2010 Apr 2;104(13):137601. Epub 2010 Apr 2.

Origin of the anomalous piezoelectric response in wurtzite Sc(x)Al(1-x)N alloys.

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Department of Physics, Chemistry and Biology (IFM), Linköping University, SE-581 83 Linköping, Sweden.


The origin of the anomalous, 400% increase of the piezoelectric coefficient in Sc(x)Al(1-x)N alloys is revealed. Quantum mechanical calculations show that the effect is intrinsic. It comes from a strong change in the response of the internal atomic coordinates to strain and pronounced softening of C33 elastic constant. The underlying mechanism is the flattening of the energy landscape due to a competition between the parent wurtzite and the so far experimentally unknown hexagonal phases of the alloy. Our observation provides a route for the design of materials with high piezoelectric response.

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