A multilayer component is composed of several layers of piezoelectric material, alternating with internal electrodes. Internal electrodes are successively positive and negative. All positive electrodes are connected by one external electrode on one side of the component; negative electrodes are connected on the other side of the component.
The advantage of this approach is that a factor of 100 lower voltages can be used for the same displacement of actuators. For transformers, the multilayer approach allows for much higher transformation ratios than is possible with transformers based on monolayer piezoceramic material.
The multilayer approach enables designs with multiple functions e.g. integration of sensors in actuators or combination of actuator and generators as with the new transformer concept.