Molecular Engineering of Ordered Piezoelectric Sulfonic Acid-Containing Assemblies

Hui Yuan, Pierre Andre Cazade, Shuaikang Zhou, Linda J.W. Shimon, Chengqian Yuan, Dan Tan, Cunshun Liu, Wei Fan, Vijayakanth Thangavel, Yi Cao, Damien Thompson, Xuehai Yan, Rusen Yang*, Bin Xue*, Ehud Gazit*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Sulfonic acid-containing bioorganic monomers with wide molecular designability and abundant hydrogen bonding sites hold great potential to design diverse functional biocrystals but have so far not been explored for piezoelectric energy harvesting applications due to the lack of strategies to break the centrosymmetry of their assemblies. Here, a significant molecular packing transformation from centrosymmetric into non-centrosymmetric conformation by the addition of an amide terminus in the sulfonic acid-containing bioorganic molecule is demonstrated, allowing a high electromechanical response. The amide-functionalized molecule self-assembles into a polar supramolecular parallel β-sheet-like structure with a high longitudinal piezoelectric coefficient d11 = 15.9 pm V−1 that produces the maximal open-circuit voltage of >1 V and the maximal power of 18 nW in nanogenerator devices pioneered. By contrast, molecules containing an amino or a cyclohexyl terminus assemble into highly symmetric 3D hydrogen bonding diamondoid-like networks or 2D double layer structures that show tunable morphologies, thermostability, and mechanical properties but non-piezoelectricity. This work not only presents a facile approach to achieving symmetry transformation of bioorganic assemblies but also demonstrates the terminal group and the property correlation for tailor-made design of high-performance piezoelectric biomaterials.

Original languageEnglish
Article number2309493
Issue number17
StatePublished - 25 Apr 2024


FundersFunder number
China‐Israel Cooperative Scientific Research101079147, 2022YFE0100800
George S. Wise Faculty of Life Sciences
Science Foundation Ireland12/RC/2275_P2
Science Foundation Ireland
National Natural Science Foundation of China51973170, 52192613
National Natural Science Foundation of China
Ministry of Science and Technology of the People's Republic of China
Tel Aviv University
Ministry of Science and Technology, Israel3–18130
Ministry of Science and Technology, Israel
Irish Centre for High-End Computing


    • brokencentrosymmetry
    • energy harvesting
    • molecular packing
    • physical property
    • sulfonic acid-containing biomolecules


    Dive into the research topics of 'Molecular Engineering of Ordered Piezoelectric Sulfonic Acid-Containing Assemblies'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

    Cite this