Coherent Precipitates with Strong Domain Wall Pinning in Alkaline Niobate Ferroelectrics

Changhao Zhao, Shuang Gao, Hans Joachim Kleebe, Xiaoli Tan, Jurij Koruza, Jürgen Rödel*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


High-power piezoelectric applications are predicted to share approximately one-third of the lead-free piezoelectric ceramic market in 2024 with alkaline niobates as the primary competitor. To suppress self-heating in high-power devices due to mechanical loss when driven by large electric fields, piezoelectric hardening to restrict domain wall motion is required. In the present work, highly effective piezoelectric hardening via coherent plate-like precipitates in a model system of the (Li,Na)NbO3 (LNN) solid solution delivers a reduction in losses, quantified as an electromechanical quality factor, by a factor of ten. Various thermal aging schemes are demonstrated to control the average size, number density, and location of the precipitates. The established properties are correlated with a detailed determination of short- and long-range atomic structure by X-ray diffraction and pair distribution function analysis, respectively, as well as microstructure determined by transmission electron microscopy. The impact of microstructure with precipitates on both small- and large-field properties is also established. These results pave the way to implement precipitate hardening in piezoelectric materials, analogous to precipitate hardening in metals, broadening their use cases in applications.

Original languageEnglish
Article number2202379
JournalAdvanced Materials
Issue number38
Publication statusPublished - 22 Sept 2022


  • electromechanical hardening
  • high-power properties
  • mechanical quality factor
  • niobates
  • precipitation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Materials Science(all)
  • Mechanics of Materials
  • Mechanical Engineering

Fields of Expertise

  • Advanced Materials Science


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