This article details the influence of zirconium doping on the piezoelectric properties and relaxor characteristics of 94(Bi1/2Na1/2)TiO3-6Ba(ZrxTi1-x)O3 (BNT-6BZT) bulk ceramics. Neutron diffraction measurements of BNT-6BZT doped with 0%-15% Zr revealed an electric-field-induced transition of the average crystal structure from pseudo-cubic to rhombohedral/tetragonal symmetries across the entire compositional range. The addition of Zr up to 10% stabilizes this transition, resulting in saturated polarization hysteresis loops with a maximum polarization of 40 μC/cm2 at 5.5 kV/mm, while corresponding strain hysteresis measurements yield a maximum strain of 0.3%. With further Zr addition, the ferroelectric order is progressively destabilized and typical relaxor characteristics such as double peaks in the current density loops are observed. In the strain hysteresis, this destabilization leads to an increase of the maximum strain by 0.05%. These changes to the physical behavior caused by Zr addition are consistent with a reduction of the transition temperature TF-R, above which the field-induced transformation from the relaxor to ferroelectric state becomes reversible.
Journal of the American Ceramic Society, 2013, Vol 96, Issue 9, p. 2881-2886