Highly defective oxides – the next generation of electromechanical materials

Project Details


Materials capable of changing shape in response to an electrical field work as muscles and have important applications as actuators in many different contexts. At present, the most widely used materials contain lead (Pb) which is highly toxic. Recently, an entirely new class of electromechanically active materials has been discovered: highly defective cerium oxides, i.e. ceria
with a large concentration of oxygen vacancies in the crystal lattice. Such materials contain no toxic elements and have a giant electromechanical response even under moderate electric fields. Governed by a still unexplored atomistic mechanism, the main underlying phenomenon seems to be the organization of the oxygen vacancies. This effect is observed so far only in thin films (below 1micron) in textured microstructures, but in order to replace the current lead-based actuator materials the properties have to be brought to the level of thick films and bulk components. To this scope, the GIANT-E project has 2 success criteria, namely: (1) Understanding the fundamental effect of the film thickness on the electrostrictive properties of highly defective oxides; (2) Identifying a methodology for stabilizing the electromechanical properties in bulk by tailoring microstructure and oxygen defects. Such results will lay the foundations for a new paradigm of bulk lead-free electromechanically active materials for multi-scale applications. The concept will be tested by a Danish industrial player, NOLIAC, for biomedical applications.
Effective start/end date01/09/201631/08/2019