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Pyroelectric Materials

What is Pyroelectric Material?

Last updated date: 21st Mar 2023
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An electric reaction of a polar dielectric to a change in temperature is known as pyroelectric material. When an electric field is applied, ferroelectric materials undergo reversible spontaneous polarisation, which is only present in pyroelectric materials when there is no electric field. As a result, piezoelectricity exists in all pyroelectric materials.

A certain type of piezoelectric crystal found in the piezoelectric materials prevents pyroelectricity. As a result, the pyroelectric effect occurs below the 1070°F curie temperature; as a result, when the material is heated above this temperature, the atoms return to their equilibrium locations. As a result, the electrocaloric effect is viewed as the pyroelectric effect's physical opposite.

Examples of Pyroelectric Material

The following is a list of some of the pyroelectric materials:

  • Cobalt phthalocyanine 

  • Lithium tantalite

  • Polyvinyl fluorides 

  • Gallium nitride

  • Tourmaline

Pyroelectricity and Thermoelectricity Comparison

The phenomenon known as the electrocaloric effect occurs when a substance exhibits a reversible change in temperature in response to an applied electric field. Pyroelectricity differs from thermoelectricity in this way. Pyrocrystal experiences a momentary voltage across it as its temperature fluctuates from one degree to another.

In the instance of thermoelectricity, the two ends of the device are subjected to two different temperatures, resulting in a constant voltage in the device as the temperature difference increases.

Analysis of Pyroelectric Materials Mathematically

As illustrated below, an amplifier with a high impedance is linked to an electrode made of a thin piece of pyroelectric material through a field-effect transistor (FET). Let voltage V be produced across the electric admittance Ye by the pyroelectric current.

The circuit's low input impedance is coupled to the high impedance source of current via a voltage amplifier with unity gains. If the orthogonal to the electrode surface of area A is part of the pyroelectric coefficient, it is called p'. Since the produced current is linked to the unbounded surface charge, it is thickness independent.

Mathematical Analysis of Pyroelectric Material

Mathematical Analysis of Pyroelectric Material


\[Q=p'A\Delta T\] …(i)

And Pyroelectric current for the following is 

$ip = Ap'\dfrac{{dT}}{{dt}} $ …(ii)

Whereas the Pyroelectric Voltage,

$V = \dfrac{i}{{YE}} $ …(iii)

And the electrical admittance from the above data,

$YE = GA + GE + jwCA + CE $ …(iv)

Here, in the above fourth equation,

GA and GE are the shunt and sample conductance. Whereas CA and CE are the shunt and sample capacitance. 

Dielectric's equivalent capacitance is

$C = \epsilon \sigma \dfrac{a}{{Ad}} $ …(v)

After which the stored energy will be 

$E = \dfrac{1}{2}p2\epsilon \sigma Ah\Delta {T^2} $ …(vi)

d is the thickness of the material, €σ is the permittivity constant under stress, A is the area of protection, and p' is a part of the pyroelectric coefficient p.

A pyroelectric material's total dielectric displacement, or charge per unit area of the plate, when an electric field E is applied to it, is given by,

$d = Es + \epsilon E $ …(vii)

where Es is the spontaneous polarisation of the volume density of the electric dipole moment and € is the vacuum's permittivity.

Effects of Temperature and Pyroelectric Coefficient 

According to the analysis above, temperature affects the pyroelectric coefficient.

  • Temperature increase causes an increase in the pyroelectric coefficient.

  • It varies with phase transition order and is greater for second-order transitions.

  • The pyroelectric substance becomes more abundant at a temperature known as Tc.

Important Questions

1. Do Pyroelectric non-ferro materials have domain names? 

A region of oriented spontaneous Polarisation is known as a ferroelectric domain. Ferroelectrics are particularly significant materials for applications such as data storage devices or optical frequency converters because of local polling, or the controlled generation of domains.

2. What is anti-ferroelectricity?

Some materials have a physical characteristic called anti-ferroelectricity. It has a tight relationship to ferroelectricity; anti-ferroelectricity and ferroelectricity are associated in a way that is similar to how anti-ferromagnetism and ferromagnetism are related.

3. What use cases do ferroelectric materials have?

Many intriguing characteristics of ferroelectric materials rely on the applied electric field, temperature, strain, and other factors. As a result, they have a wide range of applications, including energy storage, sensors, actuators, memory cells, and capacitors.


The so-called pyroelectric effect occurs when the electrical polarisation P and temperature T are coupled in a type of non-centrosymmetric polar crystals termed pyroelectrics, where a change in temperature causes a change in the electric dipole moment.

One of the finest performing concepts for temperature change sensing is pyroelectricity. Surface charges emerge as a result of this in polar matter and are correlated with changes in temperature, T.

FAQs on Pyroelectric Materials

1. What are pyroelectric and piezoelectric crystals?

Pyroelectricity is a feature of certain crystals that are naturally electrically polarised and, as a result, contain substantial electric fields. The name pyroelectricity is derived from the Greek words pyr, which means fire and electricity.

All noncentrosymmetric materials exhibit the piezoelectricity phenomenon, which is the release of electric charge in response to mechanical stress. All substances that fall within the category of polar crystal symmetry exhibit pyroelectricity, or the release of charge in response to a material's change in temperature.

2. Does the pyroelectric effect depend on the temperature background?

No, the pyroelectric action is unaffected by the heat backdrop.

As a result, pyroelectricity is a feature of a certain crystal that displays polarisation and causes an electric reaction when the temperature changes. Below the curie temperature of 1070°F, the pyroelectric effect occurs. They need high impedance wire, which offers a strong frequency response, for functioning. We see a voltage across the material as the temperature changes because it causes the atoms to migrate from their neutral state. As a result, the polarisation of the material changes.

3. What is a pyro sensor?

Another sort of heat-based human detector is pyroelectric sensors. These sensors have been created particularly to identify people. The sensor is constructed of a crystalline substance that, when subjected to heat in the form of infrared radiation, produces a surface electric charge. It is set up to be sensitive to human heat (8–14 m) wavelength. These sensors are inexpensive, reliable, and very sensitive. Due to the fact that they are made up of two infrared sensors, they can only detect moving persons.