Converse piezoelectricity and ferroelectricity in crystals of lysozyme protein revealed by piezoresponse force microscopy


This work investigates the converse piezoelectric effect in crystals of the protein lysozyme using Piezoresponse Force Microscopy (PFM) in contact and Hybrid modes. The mechanical properties of lysozyme crystals were mapped at the surface by means of Hybrid mode. In addition, ferroelectric loops were measured by the switching-spectroscopy PFM method (SS-PFM). We explore these findings using crystallographic principles and propose that the presence of defects within the crystal may lower the symmetry of lysozyme to a polar one. Our findings point towards the potential of exploiting lysozyme and other proteins in technical applications, especially those in which biocompatibility is critical.



subject category

Materials Science; Physics


Stapleton, A; Ivanov, MS; Noor, MR; Silien, C; Gandhi, AA; Soulimane, T; Kholkin, AL; Tofail, SAM

our authors


Funding from the Irish Research Council EMBARK Postgraduate Scholarship (RS/2012/337) to A.S. is acknowledged. M.S.I. is grateful to FCT for financial support through the project MATIS - Materiais e Tecnologias Industriais Sustentaveis (CENTRO-01-0145-FEDER-000014). Part of this study was also facilitated by a HEA grant under the Programme for Research in Third-Level Institutions (PRTLI 5) to the University of Limerick. A.L.K. acknowledges the CICECO-Aveiro Institute of Materials (Ref. FCT UID/CTM/50011/2013) financed by national funds through the FCT/MEC and, when applicable, cofinanced by FEDER under the PT2020 Partnership Agreement.

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