Surface piezoelectricity and pyroelectricity in centrosymmetric materials: A case of α-glycine

Shiri Dishon, Andrei Ushakov, Alla Nuraeva, David Ehre, Meir Lahav, Vladimir Shur, Andrei Kholkin, Igor Lubomirsky

Research output: Contribution to journalComment/debatepeer-review


Surface pyroelectricity and piezoelectricity induced by water incorporation during growth in α-glycine were investigated. Using the periodic temperature change technique, we have determined the thickness (~280 µm) of the near surface layer (NSL) and its pyroelectric coefficient (160 pC/(K × cm2) at 23C) independently. The thickness of NSL remains nearly constant till 60C and the pyroelectric effect vanishes abruptly by 70C. The piezoelectric effect, 0.1 pm/V at 23C measured with an interferometer, followed the same temperature dependence as the pyroelectric effect. Abrupt disappearance of both effects at 70C is irreversible and suggests that water incorporation to α-glycine forms a well defined near surface phase, which is different form α-glycine because it is polar but it too close to α-glycine to be distinguished by X-ray diffraction (XRD). The secondary pyroelectric effect was found to be <14% of the total, which is unexpectedly small for a material with a large thermal expansion coefficient. This implies that water incorporation infers minimal distortions in the host lattice. This finding suggests a path for the control of the piezoelectric and pyroelectric effects of the crystals using stereospecific incorporation of the guest molecules.

Original languageEnglish
Article number4663
Pages (from-to)1-6
Number of pages6
Issue number20
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2 2020


  • Surface piezoelectricity
  • Surface pyroelectricity
  • α-glycine

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Materials Science(all)

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