Paratellurite, also known as α-tellurium dioxide, is a ceramic that is primarily employed for its interesting optical properties. However, this material’s crystal structure belongs to the 422 symmetry class that allows a unique piezoelectric behavior to manifest itself: deformation in pure face-shear. This means that crystal symmetry necessitates the piezoelectric tensor to have only a single non-zero coefficient, d123
: such unique behavior has the potential to enable novel gyroscopic sensors and high-precision torsional microelectromechanical systems (MEMS) actuators, as pure face-shear can be used to induce pure torsion. Although α-TeO2
is one of the few known materials belonging to this symmetry class, considerable uncertainty in its single piezoelectric coefficient exists, with the few reported literature values ranging from 6.13 to 14.58 pC/N; this large uncertainty results from the difficulty in using conventional piezoelectric characterization techniques on paratellurite, limiting measurements to indirect methods. The novel applications that would be enabled by the adoption of this extraordinary material are frustrated by this lack of confidence in the literature. We therefore leverage, for the first time, a first-principles analytical physical model with electrochemical impedance spectroscopy (EIS) to determine, directly, the lone piezoelectric coefficient d123
= 7.92 pC/N.
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