Researchers from the University of Oulu in Finland have discovered a type of perovskite crystal called KBNNO that can convert heat, light and movement into electrical energy. While tests have revealed the material to be not as efficient as specialised crystals, researchers believe that they can "modify the composition of KBNNO to improve its pyroelectric and piezoelectric properties."
This week in Applied Physics Letters, from AIP Publishing, Yang Bai and his colleagues at the University of Oulu explain their research on a specific type of perovskite called KBNNO, which may be able to harness many forms of energy. Like all perovskites, KBNNO is a ferroelectric material, filled with tiny electric dipoles analogous to tiny compass needles in a magnet.
When ferroelectric materials like KBNNO undergo changes in temperature, their dipoles misalign, which induces an electric current. Electric charge also accumulates according to the direction the dipoles point. Deforming the material causes certain regions to attract or repel charges, again generating a current.
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