Nanotechnology Now

Our NanoNews Digest Sponsors
Heifer International

Wikipedia Affiliate Button

Home > Press > Relax, just break it

This shows the X-ray diffuse scattering that helped Argonne scientists and their collaborators start to answer long-held questions about relaxor ferroelectrics, a technologically important class of materials.

CREDIT
Argonne National Laboratory
This shows the X-ray diffuse scattering that helped Argonne scientists and their collaborators start to answer long-held questions about relaxor ferroelectrics, a technologically important class of materials. CREDIT Argonne National Laboratory

Abstract:
The properties of a solid depend on the arrangement of its atoms, which form a periodic crystal structure. At the nanoscale, arrangements that break this periodic structure can drastically alter the behavior of the material, but this is difficult to measure. Recent advances by scientists at the U.S. Department of Energy's (DOE) Argonne National Laboratory are starting to unravel this mystery.

Relax, just break it

Argonne, IL | Posted on July 20th, 2018

Using state-of-the art neutron and synchrotron X-ray scattering, Argonne scientists and their collaborators are helping to answer long-held questions about a technologically important class of materials called relaxor ferroelectrics, which are often lead-based. These materials have mechanical and electrical properties that are useful in applications such as sonar and ultrasound. The more scientists understand about the internal structure of relaxor ferroelectrics, the better materials we can develop for these and other applications.

The dielectric constants of relaxor ferroelectrics, which express their ability to store energy when in an electric field, have an unusual dependence on the frequency of the field. Its origin has long been a mystery to scientists. Relaxor ferroelectrics can also have exceedingly high piezoelectric properties, which means that when mechanically strained they develop an internal electric field, or, conversely, they expand or contract in the presence of an external electric field. These properties make relaxor ferroelectrics useful in technologies where energy must be converted between mechanical and electrical.

Because lead is toxic, scientists are trying to develop non-lead-based materials that can perform even better than the lead-based ferroelectrics. To develop these materials, scientists are first trying to uncover what aspects of the relaxor ferroelectric's crystal structure cause its unique properties. Although the structure is orderly and predictable on average, deviations from this order can occur on a local, or nanoscale level. These breaks in the long-range symmetry of the overall structure play a crucial role in determining the material's properties.

"We understand the long-range order very well, but for this experiment we developed novel tools and methods to study the local order," said Argonne senior physicist Stephan Rosenkranz.

Scientists from Argonne and the National Institute of Standards and Technology, along with their collaborators, studied a series of lead-based ferroelectrics with different local orders, and therefore different properties. Using new instrumentation designed by Argonne scientists that is able to provide a much larger and more detailed measurement than previous instruments, the team studied the diffuse scattering of the materials, or how the local deviations in structure affect the otherwise more orderly scattering pattern.

Previous researchers have identified a certain diffuse scattering pattern, which takes the shape of a butterfly, and associated it with the anomalous dielectric properties of relaxor ferroelectrics. When Argonne scientists analyzed their experimental data, however, they found that the butterfly-shaped scattering was strongly correlated with piezoelectric behavior.

"Now we can think about what kind of local order causes this butterfly scattering, and how can we design materials that have the same structural features that give rise to this effect," said Argonne physicist Danny Phelan.

As for the real cause of the anomalous dielectric properties, the scientists propose that it arises from competing interactions that lead to "frustration" in the material.

The new discoveries stemmed from the scientists' use of both neutron scattering and X-ray scattering. "There is invaluable complementarity to using both of these techniques," said Phelan. "Using one or the other doesn't give you the whole picture."

The scientists will use these discoveries to inform models of relaxor ferroelectrics that are used to develop new materials. Future experiments will further illuminate the relationship between local order and material properties.

###


The team used the Spallation Neutron Source, a DOE Office of Science User Facility, located at DOE's Oak Ridge National Laboratory and the Cornell High Energy Synchrotron Source in their research. This research was funded by the DOE Office of Science, Basic Energy Sciences program. The work was also supported by the National Science Foundation, the U.S. Office of Naval Research, the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada and the National Institute of Standards and Technology, U.S. Department of Commerce.

####

About Argonne National Laboratory
Argonne National Laboratory seeks solutions to pressing national problems in science and technology. The nation's first national laboratory, Argonne conducts leading-edge basic and applied scientific research in virtually every scientific discipline. Argonne researchers work closely with researchers from hundreds of companies, universities, and federal, state and municipal agencies to help them solve their specific problems, advance America's scientific leadership and prepare the nation for a better future. With employees from more than 60 nations, Argonne is managed by UChicago Argonne, LLC for the U.S. Department of Energy's Office of Science.

The U.S. Department of Energy's Office of Science is the single largest supporter of basic research in the physical sciences in the United States and is working to address some of the most pressing challenges of our time. For more information, visit the Office of Science website.

For more information, please click here

Contacts:
Jared Sagoff

630-252-5549

Copyright © Argonne National Laboratory

If you have a comment, please Contact us.

Issuers of news releases, not 7th Wave, Inc. or Nanotechnology Now, are solely responsible for the accuracy of the content.

Bookmark:
Delicious Digg Newsvine Google Yahoo Reddit Magnoliacom Furl Facebook

Related Links

The team published their results in a Nature Materials paper, titled "The relation of local order to material properties in relaxor ferroelectrics," on June 25.:

Related News Press

News and information

Bosch Sensortec launches ideation community to foster and accelerate innovative IoT applications : Creativity hub for customers, partners, developers and makers February 18th, 2019

Exotic spiraling electrons discovered by physicists: Rutgers-led research could lead to advances in lighting and solar cells February 18th, 2019

Tracking pollen with quantum dots: A pollination biologist from Stellenbosch University in South Africa is using quantum dots to track the fate of individual pollen grains. This is breaking new ground in a field of research that has been hampered by the lack of a universal method February 17th, 2019

Super-light, super-insulating ceramic aerogel keeps the hottest temperatures at bay February 17th, 2019

Laboratories

Helping smartphones hold their charge longer February 6th, 2019

Platinum forms nano-bubbles: Technologically important noble metal oxidises more readily than expected January 28th, 2019

Taking magnetism for a spin: Exploring the mysteries of skyrmions January 23rd, 2019

Revealing hidden spin: Unlocking new paths toward high-temperature superconductors: Berkeley Lab researchers uncover insights into superconductivity, leading potentially to more efficient power transmission January 4th, 2019

Marine/Watercraft

Researchers create new 'smart' material with potential biomedical, environmental uses November 23rd, 2018

Nanowrinkles could save billions in shipping and aquaculture Surfaces inspired by carnivorous plants delay degradation by marine fouling January 17th, 2018

'Quantum material' has shark-like ability to detect small electrical signals December 20th, 2017

Promising sensors for submarines, mines and spacecraft: MSU scientists are developing nanostructured gas sensors that would work at room temperature November 10th, 2017

Govt.-Legislation/Regulation/Funding/Policy

NRL, AFRL develop direct-write quantum calligraphy in monolayer semiconductors February 15th, 2019

Researchers create ultra-lightweight ceramic material that withstands extreme temperatures: UCLA-led team develops highly durable aerogel that could ultimately be an upgrade for insulation on spacecraft February 15th, 2019

Sensitive sensor detects Down syndrome DNA February 14th, 2019

Laser-induced graphene gets tough, with help: Rice University lab combines conductive foam with other materials for capable new composites February 12th, 2019

Possible Futures

Exotic spiraling electrons discovered by physicists: Rutgers-led research could lead to advances in lighting and solar cells February 18th, 2019

Tracking pollen with quantum dots: A pollination biologist from Stellenbosch University in South Africa is using quantum dots to track the fate of individual pollen grains. This is breaking new ground in a field of research that has been hampered by the lack of a universal method February 17th, 2019

Super-light, super-insulating ceramic aerogel keeps the hottest temperatures at bay February 17th, 2019

Molecular Lego blocks: Chemical data mining boosts search for new organic semiconductors February 15th, 2019

Discoveries

Exotic spiraling electrons discovered by physicists: Rutgers-led research could lead to advances in lighting and solar cells February 18th, 2019

Tracking pollen with quantum dots: A pollination biologist from Stellenbosch University in South Africa is using quantum dots to track the fate of individual pollen grains. This is breaking new ground in a field of research that has been hampered by the lack of a universal method February 17th, 2019

The smallest skeletons in the marine world observed in 3D by synchrotron techniques February 15th, 2019

Researchers create ultra-lightweight ceramic material that withstands extreme temperatures: UCLA-led team develops highly durable aerogel that could ultimately be an upgrade for insulation on spacecraft February 15th, 2019

Materials/Metamaterials

Super-light, super-insulating ceramic aerogel keeps the hottest temperatures at bay February 17th, 2019

Laser-induced graphene gets tough, with help: Rice University lab combines conductive foam with other materials for capable new composites February 12th, 2019

Using artificial intelligence to engineer materials' properties: New system of 'strain engineering' can change a material's optical, electrical, and thermal properties February 11th, 2019

Sound and light trapped by disorder February 8th, 2019

Announcements

Bosch Sensortec launches ideation community to foster and accelerate innovative IoT applications : Creativity hub for customers, partners, developers and makers February 18th, 2019

Exotic spiraling electrons discovered by physicists: Rutgers-led research could lead to advances in lighting and solar cells February 18th, 2019

Tracking pollen with quantum dots: A pollination biologist from Stellenbosch University in South Africa is using quantum dots to track the fate of individual pollen grains. This is breaking new ground in a field of research that has been hampered by the lack of a universal method February 17th, 2019

Super-light, super-insulating ceramic aerogel keeps the hottest temperatures at bay February 17th, 2019

Interviews/Book Reviews/Essays/Reports/Podcasts/Journals/White papers

Exotic spiraling electrons discovered by physicists: Rutgers-led research could lead to advances in lighting and solar cells February 18th, 2019

Tracking pollen with quantum dots: A pollination biologist from Stellenbosch University in South Africa is using quantum dots to track the fate of individual pollen grains. This is breaking new ground in a field of research that has been hampered by the lack of a universal method February 17th, 2019

Super-light, super-insulating ceramic aerogel keeps the hottest temperatures at bay February 17th, 2019

Researchers create ultra-lightweight ceramic material that withstands extreme temperatures: UCLA-led team develops highly durable aerogel that could ultimately be an upgrade for insulation on spacecraft February 15th, 2019

Tools

The smallest skeletons in the marine world observed in 3D by synchrotron techniques February 15th, 2019

Picosunís ALD encapsulation prevents electronics degradation February 15th, 2019

Scientists image conducting edges in a promising 2-D material February 8th, 2019

CEA-Leti Builds Prototype of Next-Generation Mid-Infrared Optical Sensors for Portable Devices: Coin-size, On-chip Sensors that Combine High Performance and Low Power Consumption Presented in Paper at SPIE Photonics West 2019 February 5th, 2019

NanoNews-Digest
The latest news from around the world, FREE



  Premium Products
NanoNews-Custom
Only the news you want to read!
 Learn More
NanoStrategies
Full-service, expert consulting
 Learn More











ASP
Nanotechnology Now Featured Books




NNN

The Hunger Project