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News | New technologies
Leti, a CEA Tech institute, has developed a digital audio speaker that contains a PZT piezo switch. The research confirms the institute's position as a center for expertise in PZT and will open the door to a number of applications for the material.
When voltage is applied to piezoelectric
materials, they flex, a property that can be used to generate sound. This is
the principle behind the piezoelectric speaker. Leti recently developed a
MEMS-based piezo speaker in which the piezo switch was made from a thin layer
of PZT (lead zirconate titanate). “We used the sol-gel method to deposit the
material—the best way to obtain the optimal crystalline structure and yields,”
said a representative of Leti. The institute leverages a lab with
state-of-the-art equipment dedicated to PZT research to analyze and gain
insights into how the material works and enhance its performance.
And this is very good news for MEMS, where
PZT could have many other uses. MEMS, which are playing an increasing role in
our everyday lives, have to be coupled with sensors or switches for certain
applications. And these sensors and switches can now potentially be made from
PZT. The research will fuel advances in everything from RF components to medical
systems, optical components, and haptic feedback systems for new human-machine
CEA is a French government-funded technological research organisation in four main areas: low-carbon energies, defense and security, information technologies and health technologies. A prominent player in the European Research Area, it is involved in setting up collaborative projects with many partners around the world.