A team of engineers from the University of Houston Cullen College of Engineering, Rice University, and the University of Washington have found a material that measures one atomic layer thick, and is considered the world’s thinnest piezoelectric material.
The graphene nitride nanosheet was not supposed to have piezoelectric properties, but through calculations, simulations, and testing, the team found that it did have these properties. The nanosheet has triangular holes cut into it that pointed in the same direction to eliminate the ability to have mirror symmetry. The combination of graphene nitride and the holes make the material piezoelectric. Unlike other atomically thin materials with piezoelectric properties, this material can be stacked in numerous layers without losing its piezoelectricity.