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Navy

Relaxor Ferroelectric Single Crystal Transducers

Transducer technology to generate high source levels across wide bandwidth from compact source

Photonics
The US Navy has developed a transducer technology that can generate high source levels across a wide bandwidth from a compact source. One potential design for a simple, robust device is diagrammed above.
The US Navy has developed a transducer technology that can generate high source levels across a wide bandwidth from a compact source. One potential design for a simple, robust device is diagrammed above.

The Naval Undersea Warfare Center Division Newport has developed, tested, and patented piezoelectric transducers that deliver high strain over a large bandwidth while requiring a low drive level.  The key is the application of small levels of compressive stress to domain engineered PIN-PNM-PT single crystals.  The pre-stress brings the crystal near the phase transition point between rhombohedral (Fr) and orthorhombic (Fo) states so that a small AC electrical field can induce a transition from Fr to Fo and generate the strain that drives the transducer.  A DC bias electrical field is also employed to lower the stress level at which the transition occurs, resulting in a system where a small variation in either stress or electric field can trigger the transition.

The technology is amenable to a variety of transducer designs, including the simple, robust, and tunable design shown in the graphic to the right.  The sharp reversible domain switching effect of the Navy’s technology leads to potential applications in a broad field, including sound projectors, ultralarge stroke and nonlinear actuators, piezoelectric transformers, pulsed field sources, magnetoelectric micropumps, energy harvesting, and composite magnetoelectric magnetic sensing.

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