Certain crystals have structures that change shape on the nanoscale.
The nanostructure of a material determines its properties. Small changes in structure can mean big changes in property.
Piezoelectricity is a property of crystals with a certain shape. Squeeze them and they generate electricity. Apply a current to them and they change shape.
Scientists use piezoelectricity to explore and transform the nanoscale world.
Developed for the NISE Network with funding from the National Science Foundation under Award Numbers 0532536 and 0940143. Any opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this product are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of the Foundation.