Amino acids nanocrystals for piezoelectric detection of ultra-low mechanical pressure

Hanna Bishara*, Alina Nagel, Maya Levanon, Shlomo Berger

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Developing biocompatible nano-materials with the ability to detect ultra-low mechanical pressure is promising for biomedical sensors. This paper reports the detection of pressure as low as 1 Pa in the environmental pressure of 1 atm (10−3% pressure change) by nanocrystals of amino acids glycine and alanine through the piezoelectric effect. Piezoelectricity enables detection of pressure by a change of dielectric polarization when the material is subjected to external pressure. This work exploits the non-centro-symmetric structure of some amino acids and their weak hydrogen bonds to develop sensitive mechanical pressure sensors. The β-glycine and L-alanine nanocrystals were grown from aqueous solution inside porous alumina substrate. The nanocrystals exhibit pronounced preferred crystallographic orientation. The sensitive piezoelectric response to ultra-low mechanical pressure is discussed based on atomic and crystal symmetry considerations.

Original languageEnglish
Article number110468
JournalMaterials Science and Engineering C
StatePublished - Mar 2020
Externally publishedYes


  • Amino acid
  • Biocompatible sensors
  • Crystal growth
  • Mechanical pressure sensors
  • Nanocrystals
  • Piezoelectricity


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