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15.4: Atomic Basis of Non-spontaneously Polarised Piezoelectrics

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  • Consider quartz, SiO2. In its non-stressed state, the ions are in positions which do not allow any net dipole moment to be formed.

    The structure of quartz is shown below:

    Structure of quartz

    In quartz, there are tetrahedra of O atoms around Si atoms, which are able to twist and change shape when a stress is applied. The change in their position leads to the formation of net dipole moments as seen in the piezoelectric dipole moment section.

    A tetrahedra of O atoms around a Si atom is marked within the quartz structure below:

    Structure of quartz

    The dipole moment appears in every unit cell in the crystal and causes polarisation.

    Structure of quartz showing dipole moment

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