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Demonstration of Copper Co‐Fired (Na, K)NbO3 Multilayer Structures for Piezoelectric Applications

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A Li and Ta modified (Na, K)NbO3 piezoelectric ceramic has been successfully co‐fired with inner copper electrodes in a reduced atmosphere. Highly dense NKN ceramics (95% relative density, 4.64 g/cm3) were obtained by sintering the samples in a low oxygen partial pressure (low pO2) atmosphere at 1050°C. The poly(propylene carbonate) binder system was used to permit a clean burnout at low temperature in N2 atmosphere, and also prevent the electrode copper particles from undergoing any oxidation. No interdiffusion of copper, chemical reactions, and/or carbon residues were observed in the grains, grain boundaries, or at the electrode–ceramic interface of the co‐fired samples from a detailed transmission electron microscopy (TEM) analysis. Dielectric and piezoelectric properties were characterized from those co‐fired prototyped samples. The samples displayed high relative dielectric permittivity above 800, with low dielectric loss about 3.6%. A normalized strain coefficient d33 (max. strain/max. electric field) of d33 = 220 pm/V was obtained under unipolar converse electromechanical measurement at 20 kV/cm. This paper presents the feasibility of co‐firing a Cu inner electrode with NKN ceramics toward multilayer lead‐free piezoelectric applications, providing an engineering route to narrow the performance differences between soft lead‐based piezoelectrics and lead‐free materials.
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Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: June 1, 2016

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