23 May 2023
"Will we ever stop using toxic lead in our electronics and are lead-free alkali-niobates the future?"
This research is aimed at understanding the factors influencing the formation and piezoelectric properties of sodium potassium niobate (KNN), so it can effectively replace lead zirconate titanate (PZT) as a lead-free alternative. Current synthesis routes of KNN require solid-state synthesis, the use of molten salt reactions or metalorganic precursors, which limit the extent of control afforded by these reactions. The use of a water-soluble niobium precursor, such as a polyoxoniobate species, can facilitate improved selectivity and control in the synthesis of KNN. Electron microscopy techniques (TEM/SEM) can be used to probe the in-situ morphological changes occurring to yield KNN to give us a deeper understanding of its morphological changes. This gives insight into potential impact on the piezoelectric properties, which is imperative for developing lead-free alternatives to PZT.