2D Layered Dipeptide Crystals for Piezoelectric Applications

Publish date :

Jul 3, 2021


2D piezoelectric materials such as transition metal dichalcogenides are attracting significant attention because they offer various benefits over bulk piezoelectrics. In this work, the fabrication of layered biomolecular crystals of diphenylalanine (FF) obtained via a co-assembly of l,l- and d,d- enantiomers of FF monomers is reported. Their crystal structure, thermal and chemical stabilities, and piezoelectric properties are investigated. Single crystal X-ray diffraction results show that FF enantiomers are arranged in the form of bilayers consisting of monomers with alternating chirality packed into a tape-like monoclinic structure belonging to a polar space group P21. Each bilayer (≈1.5 nm thick) demonstrates strong out-of-plane piezoelectricity (d33 ≈ 20 pm V−1) that is almost an order of magnitude higher than in the archetypical piezoelectric material quartz. The grown crystals demonstrate better thermal and chemical stabilities than self-assembled hexagonal FF nanotubes studied in the past. Piezoelectric bilayers, being held via weak aromatic interaction in the bulk crystals, can be exfoliated by mechanical or chemical methods, thus resulting in a 2D piezoelectric material, which can find various applications in biocompatible and ecologically friendly electromechanical microdevices, such as sensors, actuators, and energy harvesting elements used in implantable and wearable electronics.