The inverse piezoelectric effect is used in the production of ultrasonic sound waves. French physicists Jacques and Pierre Curie discovered piezoelectricity in 1880, and it has subsequently been exploited in a number of useful applications, such as the production and detection of sound, piezoelectric inkjet printing, generation of high voltages, clock generator in electronics, microbalances, to drive an ultrasonic nozzle, and ultrafine focusing of optical assemblies.

Drawing on this knowledge, both René Just Haüy and Antoine César Becquerel posited a relationship between mechanical stress and electric charge; however, experiments by both proved inconclusive. The first demonstration of the direct piezoelectric effect was in 1880 by the brothers Pierre Curie and Jacques Curie.


The converse effect was mathematically deduced from fundamental thermodynamic principles by Gabriel Lippmann in 1881.


The Curies immediately confirmed the existence of the converse effect, and went on to obtain quantitative proof of the complete reversibility of electro-elasto-mechanical deformations in piezoelectric crystals. For the next few decades, piezoelectricity remained something of a laboratory curiosity, though it was a vital tool in the discovery of polonium and radium by Pierre and Marie Curie in 1898.


This culminated in 1910 with the publication of Woldemar Voigt's Lehrbuch der Kristallphysik (Textbook on Crystal Physics), which described the 20 natural crystal classes capable of piezoelectricity, and rigorously defined the piezoelectric constants using tensor analysis. ===World War I and post-war=== The first practical application for piezoelectric devices was sonar, first developed during World War I.


In France in 1917, Paul Langevin and his coworkers developed an ultrasonic submarine detector.

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