Biotemplated synthesis of PZT nanowires

Kellye Cung, Booyeon J. Han, Thanh D. Nguyen, Sheng Mao, Yao Wen Yeh, Shiyou Xu, Rajesh R. Naik, Gerald Poirier, Nan Yao, Prashant K. Purohit, Michael C. McAlpine

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

34 Scopus citations


Piezoelectric nanowires are an important class of smart materials for next-generation applications including energy harvesting, robotic actuation, and bioMEMS. Lead zirconate titanate (PZT), in particular, has attracted significant attention, owing to its superior electromechanical conversion performance. Yet, the ability to synthesize crystalline PZT nanowires with well-controlled properties remains a challenge. Applications of common nanosynthesis methods to PZT are hampered by issues such as slow kinetics, lack of suitable catalysts, and harsh reaction conditions. Here we report a versatile biomimetic method, in which biotemplates are used to define PZT nanostructures, allowing for rational control over composition and crystallinity. Specifically, stoichiometric PZT nanowires were synthesized using both polysaccharide (alginate) and bacteriophage templates. The wires possessed measured piezoelectric constants of up to 132 pm/V after poling, among the highest reported for PZT nanomaterials. Further, integrated devices can generate up to 0.820 μW/cm2 of power. These results suggest that biotemplated piezoelectric nanowires are attractive candidates for stimuli-responsive nanosensors, adaptive nanoactuators, and nanoscale energy harvesters.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)6197-6202
Number of pages6
JournalNano Letters
Issue number12
StatePublished - Dec 11 2013

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General Chemistry
  • Condensed Matter Physics
  • Mechanical Engineering
  • Bioengineering
  • General Materials Science


  • Biotemplated nanomaterials
  • biomechanical energy harvesting
  • biomimetic synthesis
  • piezoelectric nanowires


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