Our team at the Thales Australia Acoustics Centre of Excellence, based in Rydalmere Western Sydney, are playing an integral part in the development of third generation piezoelectric materials; single crystal devices. Piezoelectric crystals are used in the sonar transducers that turn minute acoustic vibrations into symbols on operators’ screens, telling them where, and what, the source of a noise is. To read more about this work that is being jointly funded by the Defence Science and Technology Group’s Next Generation Technologies Fund.
If you’ve ever used a gas match to light a barbecue, then you’ve used a piezoelectric device. When you squeeze a piezoelectric ceramic crystal it emits an electric current: in a gas match you get a spark that ignites a gas flame. But if you put that crystal in a sonar sensor you get a tiny pulse of electricity that can betray the presence of a submarine or an entire surface fleet, tens of kilometres away.