Piezoelectric Gold: Strong Charge-Load Response in a Metal-Based Hybrid Nanomaterial


Impregnating the pores of nanoporous gold with aqueous electrolyte yields a hybrid nanomaterial with two separate and interpenetrating charge transport paths, electronic conduction in the metal and ionic conduction in the electrolyte. As the two paths are capacitively connected, space-charge layers along the internal interfaces are coupled to electric potential differences between the paths and can be controlled or detected thereby. The present experiments show that the space charge couples to mechanical deformation of the hybrid material, so that external loading generates an electric current. The electric signal originates from charge displacement along the entire internal interface; the signal is particularly robust since the interface area is large. The charge transfer in response to load constitutes a piezoelectric response, yet the mechanism is quite different to classic piezoelectricity. The analysis in this work predicts links between electromechanical coupling parameters for strain sensing and actuation, which are in excellent agreement with the experiment.
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