Pyroelectricity versus conductivity in soft lead zirconate titanate (PZT) ceramics


The electrical behavior of modified soft lead zirconate titanate (PZT) ceramics has been studied as a function of temperature at different direct current (dc) electric fields and grain sizes. As ferroelectrics, such as PZT, are highly polarizable materials, poling, depolarization, and electric conduction contribute to the total electrical current, which leads to anomalous electrical behavior as a function of temperature. The PZT appeared to have a high pyroelectric coefficient, and it was found that the displacement current hides the conduction current near room temperature. The (long-time) steady-state electrical resistivity of the soft PZT used has a typical, relatively high value of 3.6 × 1012 Ω·cm near room temperature. The resistivity above the Curie temperature was two orders of magnitude lower than the room temperature. The resistivity decreases with increasing grain size probably due to the increased Pb vacancy concentration resulting as a consequence of a higher sintering temperature. The values of activation energies suggest that the charge carriers at high temperature are mainly oxygen vacancies. At intermediate temperature, the electrical behavior is controlled by the counteracting effect of depolarization and conduction. Considering the pyroelectric effect and the conduction, it was thus possible to explain the electrical behavior of this soft PZT ceramic over the temperature range considered.

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Kamel, T.M., de With, G. Pyroelectricity versus conductivity in soft lead zirconate titanate (PZT) ceramics. Journal of Materials Research 22, 3448–3454 (2007).

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