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Photoflexoelectric effect in halide perovskites


Harvesting environmental energy to generate electricity is a key scientific and technological endeavour of our time. Photovoltaic conversion and electromechanical transduction are two common energy-harvesting mechanisms based on, respectively, semiconducting junctions and piezoelectric insulators. However, the different material families on which these transduction phenomena are based complicate their integration into single devices. Here we demonstrate that halide perovskites, a family of highly efficient photovoltaic materials1,2,3, display a photoflexoelectric effect whereby, under a combination of illumination and oscillation driven by a piezoelectric actuator, they generate orders of magnitude higher flexoelectricity than in the dark. We also show that photoflexoelectricity is not exclusive to halides but a general property of semiconductors that potentially enables simultaneous electromechanical and photovoltaic transduction and harvesting in unison from multiple energy inputs.

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Fig. 1: Flexoelectricity of perovskites in the dark.
Fig. 2: Photoflexoelectric experiment.
Fig. 3: Room temperature response.
Fig. 4: Flexoelectricity and photoflexoelectricity of halides and comparison with other materials.

Data availability

The data represented in Figs. 1, 2c,d, 3 and 4 are provided with the paper as source data. Other datasets generated and/or analysed during the current study are available from L.S. on reasonable request.


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This work was supported by the National Natural Science Foundation of China under grant nos. 51962020, 51972157, 11574126 and 11604135, and partly by the National Key Research and Development Plan of China (2017YFB0406300). L.S. and S.K. thank Nanchang University for support. G.C. acknowledges support from the Generalitat de Catalunya (Grant 2017 SGR 579) and from MINECO (National Plan MAT2016-77100-C2-1-P and Severo Ochoa SEV-2017-0706). M.S. acknowledges the support of MINECO through grants no. MAT2016-77100-C2-2-P and no. SEV-2015-0496, Generalitat de Catalunya (grant no. 2017 SGR1506) and the European Research Council under the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme (grant no. 724529). We thank D Torres for the graphic design of Fig. 2a,b.

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Authors and Affiliations



G.C. and L.S. conceived the idea and coordinated this work. M.S. produced the theoretical model. G.C. wrote the paper. L.S., S.K., L.F., W.H., Z.W. and J.G. prepared the samples and performed the photoflexoelectric experiments. X.J., L.W., S.L., F.L., Z.R., R.-K.Z., X.Y., Y.Z. and Y.W. made the other experimental measurements and joined the discussions.

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Correspondence to Longlong Shu or Gustau Catalan.

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Supplementary Information

Supplementary Figs. 1–13, Table 1 and refs. 1–13.

Source data

Source Data Fig. 1

Experimental data points of Fig. 1a–d.

Source Data Fig. 2

Experimental data points of Fig. 2c,d.

Source Data Fig. 3

Experimental data points of Fig. 3a–d.

Source Data Fig. 4

Experimental data points of Fig. 4a and literature data of Fig. 4b.

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Shu, L., Ke, S., Fei, L. et al. Photoflexoelectric effect in halide perovskites. Nat. Mater. 19, 605–609 (2020).

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