February 1, 2015 (Vol. 35, No. 3)
Strong Points: Educational material, easy-to-understand language
Weak Points: Many features simply link to PI website
At first glance, the terms “piezoelectricity” and “nanopositioning” may seem completely foreign. However, if you’ve ever used a high-resolution microscope, micromanipulator, or other piece of precision machinery, chances are you’ve already been introduced to these concepts. In fact, even outside of the lab you’ve likely encountered piezoelectric materials (materials that convert electrical energy to mechanical energy and vice-versa) such as the ceramic within a gas lighter that produces an electrical potential (and spark) in response to pressure. Curious yet? Want to learn more? The Piezo University app by Physik Instrumente (PI) is a great educational app that covers the basics of piezoelectricity and its applications, piezo materials, and considerations when designing with piezo materials. Beyond the educational section, the app also contains links to the company’s product manuals, blog, and other online resources. The app is nicely organized and provides a great deal of easy-to-understand material.