Flexoelectricity is an effect that has gathered increasing attention in the past decade, due to its particular significance at the nanoscale. Flexoelectricity appears as a result of inhomogeneous strain applied to a nanomaterial. Contrary to other phenomena, such as piezoelectricity and ferroelectricity, this effect is not restricted by any geometry or crystalline order, which makes it promising in energy harvesting and ideal for nanoelectromechanical resonators. Recently, the existence of the so-called photoflexoelectric effect has been shown. This discovery is of tremendous importance for the energy production field since the measured photo enhancement of the flexoelectric response was thousands of times higher. The understanding of this effect and possible control could have game-changing implications for energy production and Catalysis.
In this Project -FlexPho2, the investigation of the photoflexoelectric effect on Strontium Titanate (STO) is proposed. STO is a well-known flexoelectric material, which has also been extensively researched as a photoanode in catalysis. Therefore, it aims to basic and fundamental research in the field. The project profits from a unique experimental set-up, developed by the PI, which allows the direct measurement of flexoelectric response by submicrometer oscillations. Additionally, with the successful application of the SONATA project, it might be capable of measuring this effect in liquids and under ultraviolet light irradiation.
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