Subatomic deformation driven by vertical piezoelectricity from CdS ultrathin films

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Science Advances  01 Jul 2016:
Vol. 2, no. 7, e1600209
DOI: 10.1126/sciadv.1600209


Driven by the development of high-performance piezoelectric materials, actuators become an important tool for positioning objects with high accuracy down to nanometer scale, and have been used for a wide variety of equipment, such as atomic force microscopy and scanning tunneling microscopy. However, positioning at the subatomic scale is still a great challenge. Ultrathin piezoelectric materials may pave the way to positioning an object with extreme precision. Using ultrathin CdS thin films, we demonstrate vertical piezoelectricity in atomic scale (three to five space lattices). With an in situ scanning Kelvin force microscopy and single and dual ac resonance tracking piezoelectric force microscopy, the vertical piezoelectric coefficient (d33) up to 33 pm·V−1 was determined for the CdS ultrathin films. These findings shed light on the design of next-generation sensors and microelectromechanical devices.

  • Vertical piezoelectricity
  • 2D materials
  • sub-atom deformation
  • CdS thin films

This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial license, which permits use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, so long as the resultant use is not for commercial advantage and provided the original work is properly cited.

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