The piezoelectric effect, discovered in 1880 by Jacques and Pierre Curie, effectively allows to transduce signals from the mechanical domain to the electrical domain and vice versa. For this reason, piezoelectric devices are already ubiquitous, including, for instance, quartz oscillators, mechanical actuators with sub-atomic resolution and microbalances. However, the ability to synthesize two-dimensional (2D) materials may enable the fabrication of innovative devices with unprecedented performance. For instance, many materials which are not piezoelectric in their bulk form become piezoelectric when reduced to a single atomic layer; moreover, since all the atoms belong to the surface, piezoelectricity can be effectively engineered by proper surface modifications. As additional advantages, 2D materials are strong, flexible, easy to be co-integrated with conventional integrated circuits or micro-electromechanical systems and, in comparison with bulk or quasi-1D materials, easier to be simulated at the atomistic level. Here, we review the state of the art on 2D piezoelectricity, with reference to both computational predictions and experimental characterization. Because of their unique advantages, we believe 2D piezoelectric materials will substantially expand the applications of piezoelectricity.

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DOI: 10.1016/j.mattod.2018.01.031