A photomechanical effect has been observed in the piezoelectric sonar transducer ceramic, lead zirconate titanate (PZT) in which the material becomes measurably softer when illuminated with visible light. The phenomenon has been studied by stress relaxation techniques and attempts have been made to analyze the data in terms of a thermal activation analysis that had been successfully applied to PZT in the absence of illumination. The effect of light intensity on the stress relaxation was determined. The results are discussed in terms of the effect of illumination on the migration of non-180 degree domain boundaries.
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This work was supported by the Office of Naval Research under Contract No. N00014-76-C-0625. The continued interest of Dr. R. C. Pohanka is gratefully acknowledged.
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