Electromechanical converters

Electromechanical converters

Materials which can change shape or volume in response to an electrical field have important uses for actuators or sensors in many different contexts and may even be used for artificial muscles. At present, the most widely used materials contain lead which is highly toxic. We explore novel electromechanical materials with no harmful elements. One especially interesting class of materials is defective oxides, i.e. oxide materials with a large number of oxygen vacancies in their crystal lattice.

Our main focus is on functional metal oxides for conversion of mechanical to electrical energy (and vice versa), but other applications, e.g., as actuators, resonators or sensing, are also considered. The research builds on the extensive materials and processing knowledge within ceramics which exists in the department. Although piezoelectrics in many ways are a mature field, a push towards miniaturization and increasing societal restrictions on the use of lead-containing compounds have opened up opportunities for new classes of materials and processing methods. Currently, most activities in the department are on materials development and processing but device design, fabrication and testing are also envisaged.

The main research topics are:

  • Lead-free piezoelectrics, in particular processing and control of microstructure to tailor the properties
  • New classes of defective oxides, including ceria compounds, for use as lead-free giant electrostrictors
  • 3D printing of ceramic transducers such as BiTiO3, BaTiO3 and polymer-ceramic composites
  • Electromechanical properties of thin film oxides on metallic substrates.


Astri Bjørnetun Haugen
Associate Professor
DTU Energy
+45 21 56 09 19