Glycine crystals can replace piezoelectric ceramics in biology and medicine
Optical photography of ?-glycine microcrystals grown from an aqueous solution. The area used for measuring the piezoelectric reson
Modern interest in the use of piezoelectricity (the emergence of electric charge under compression or stretching of materials) in medicine and biology has arisen because of its manifestation in biological molecules, such as synthetic polypeptides or amino acid crystals, including gamma-glycine. The effect was revealed in bone tissue, collagen, elastin and synthetic bone hydroxyapatite. However, the authors of the article note that the piezoelectric coefficients presented in these biological materials are very small, usually in the range of 0.1-10 picometres/volt, and limit their technological application.
Glycine is the simplest amino acid. It is a part of many proteins and biologically active compounds; it is used in the pharmaceutical and food industries. Glycine is a classical polymorphic material: under ordinary conditions, it can exist in three different forms: α-, β- and γ-glycine polymorphs, differing in the way the molecules are packaged during crystal growth. Beta-glycine is considered a promising nonlinear optical material. It has many useful optical properties, such as a high value of the coefficient of nonlinear optical susceptibility, a wide window of transparency, a high threshold of destruction.
‘This allows us to consider glycine as a promising material that can be used not only as a piezoelectric transducer (for example, to activate biological processes) but also in biocompatible memory devices, optical switches, gate transistors, etc. Our results open new prospects for such applications,’ explained Andrei Kholkin.
Ural Federal University
19, Mira St., Ekaterinburg, Russia
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