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For MEMS applications the best of class piezo materials such as lead-zirconium-titanate (PZT) are lead (Pb) containing. From environmental aspects it is highly desired that in near future these materials are replaced by lead-free piezo materials. Solmates and MESA+ demonstrated in the February issue of Materials Letters that by using potassium-niobate (KNN) thin films fabricated by pulsed laser deposition a piezo performance of about 50% compared to PZT could be achieved. By using additional doping and process tuning the researchers intend to further increase the piezo performance to the same level of lead-containing materials.
The paper can be accessed by the following link: doi:10.1016/j.matlet.2015.11.044