Certain materials produce electric charges on their surfaces as a consequence of applying mechanical stress. The induced charges are proportional to the mechanical stress. This is called the direct piezoelectric effect and was discovered in quartz by Pierre and Jacques Curie in 1880. Materials showing have a geometric strain proportional to an applied electric field. This is the converse piezoelectric effect, discovered by Gabriel Lippmann in 1881. This article first reviews the historical episodes of piezoelectric materials in the sequence of quartz, Rochelle salt, barium titanate, PZT, lithium niobate/tantalate, relaxor ferroelectrics, PVDF, Pb-free piezoelectrics, and composites. Then, the detailed performances are described in the following section, which serves as the introduction to each chapter in this book. Third, since piezoelectricity is utilized extensively in the fabrication of various devices such as transducers, sensors, actuators, surface acoustic wave devices, frequency control, etc., applications of piezoelectric materials are introduced briefly in conjunction with materials. The author hopes that the reader can 'learn the history aiming at creating a new perspective for the future of piezoelectric materials'.
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