Gadolinium-doped cerium oxide could be a promising alternative to certain piezoelectric materials. It is lead-free, which means that it could be employed in biocompatible medical applications. Further research will be conducted on this highly promising compound and similar materials. By manipulating atomic defects in a lead-free material that is normally not piezoelectric, it is possible to induce a large piezoelectric effect.
MEMS hold great promise for biomedical applications, such as for diagnostics, prognostics, and therapeutics, but the lead metal that the best of them contain is toxic to the human body and environment. Researchers are therefore working to create lead-free alternatives to the piezoelectric materials currently employed in MEMS.
The addition of gadolinium in ceria creates a large concentration of atomic defects (oxygen vacancies) that are mobile in the presence of an electric field. That means that a strong piezoelectric effect in gadolinium-doped cerium oxide can be induced by controlling the defects.
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