Orientation-controlled crystallization of γ-glycine films with enhanced piezoelectricity

Jiajie Sui, Jun Li, Long Gu, Connor A. Schmidt, Ziyi Zhang, Yan Shao, Ehud Gazit, Pupa U.P.A. Gilbert, Xudong Wang*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

10 Scopus citations


Glycine, the simplest amino acid, is considered a promising functional biomaterial owing to its excellent biocompatibility and strong out-of-plane piezoelectricity. Practical applications require glycine films to be manufactured with their strong piezoelectric polar 〈001〉 direction aligned with the film thickness. Based on the recently-developed solidification approach of a polyvinyl alcohol (PVA) and glycine aqueous solution, in this work, we demonstrate that the crystal orientation of the as-synthesized film is determined by the orientation of glycine crystal nuclei. By controlling the local nucleation kinetics via surface curvature tuning, we shifted the nucleation site from the edge to the middle of the liquid film, and thereby aligned the 〈001〉 direction vertically. As a result, the PVA-glycine-PVA sandwich film exhibits the highest aver-age piezoelectric coefficient d33 of 6.13 ± 1.13 pC N−1. This work demonstrates a promising kinetic approach to achieve crystallization and property control in a scalable biocrystal manufacturing process.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)6958-6964
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Materials Chemistry B
Issue number36
StatePublished - 10 Aug 2022


FundersFunder number
Grainger Institute for Engineering
U.S. Department of Energy
Office of Science
Basic Energy SciencesDE-SC0020283
Grainger Institute for Engineering, University of Wisconsin-Madison


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