Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Studies on electric polarization at Argonne

14.06.2004


Researchers from the U.S. Department of Energy’s Argonne National Laboratory and Northern Illinois University have shown that very thin materials can still retain an electric polarization, opening the potential for a wide range of tiny devices.


INTENSE EFFECT — This series of images shows the intensity of ferroelectricity – the ability to retain a switchable electric polarization – over a range of temperatures.



The researchers found that the ferroelectric phase – the ability to hold a switchable electric polarization – is stable for thicknesses as small as 1.2 nanometers, one-billionth of a meter, or a size several hundred thousand times smaller than the period at the end of this sentence.

Previous studies had found that, as the material became too thin, it quit being a ferroelectric. These new results, however, suggest that small thicknesses do not pose a fundamental problem to building very small devices based on these materials. The research is published in the June 11 issue of Science magazine.


“The natural ordering of the atoms in their crystal structure cause these materials to be electrically polarized,” said researcher Carol Thompson of NIU. “This means that, in the jargon of the scientists, these ferroelectric materials exhibit rich and complex couplings between their optical, chemical, mechanical, structural and thermal properties. Alterations of the natural structure due to size and surface effects will perhaps destroy their ability to perform as ferroelectrics. However, we will be relying on these materials to behave themselves. Will they? The research suggests that they will behave better than we had any right to expect before.”

Subscribe to What’s New at Argonne, a monthly e-mail newsletter that summarizes stories from Argonne’s home page and other Argonne news and provides links to additional information.

An increasingly wide range of applications are based on ferroelectric thin films, including sensors, microelectromechanical systems and memory systems. Studies of ferroelectrics have become more intense in recent years, as devices – and the materials and thin films used to manufacture them – have become smaller, moving to the micro- and even the nano-scale, creating machines and building blocks of electronic devices smaller than the width of a human hair. The technological potential of these materials depends on maintaining a stable ferroelectric phase as devices continue to be miniaturized.

The researchers used the powerful X-ray beams from the Advanced Photon Source at Argonne – the nation’s most brilliant X-rays – to monitor the electric transition in thin films as they are grown, layer by layer.

Argonne is building a new Center for Nanoscale Materials that will provide enhanced capability to fabricate and study novel materials and devices at the nanoscale.

The authors are D.D. Fong, G.B. Stephenson, S.K. Streiffer, J.A. Eastman, Orlando Auciello and P.H. Fuoss of Argonne and Carol Thompson of NIU. Funding is provided by the Office of Basic Energy Sciences, part of the Department of Energy’s Office of Science, and by the State of Illinois.

The nation’s first national laboratory, Argonne National Laboratory conducts basic and applied scientific research across a wide spectrum of disciplines, ranging from high-energy physics to climatology and biotechnology. Since 1990, Argonne has worked with more than 600 companies and numerous federal agencies and other organizations to help advance America’s scientific leadership and prepare the nation for the future. Argonne is operated by the University of Chicago for the U.S. Department of Energy’s Office of Science.

For more information, please contact Catherine Foster (630/252-5580 or media@anl.gov) at Argonne or Joe King (815/753-4299 or joking@niu.edu) at Northern Illinois University.

Catherine Foster | Argonne National Laboratory
Further information:
http://www.anl.gov/OPA/news04/news040611.htm

More articles from Process Engineering:

nachricht Intelligent wheelchairs, predictive prostheses
20.12.2017 | Fraunhofer-Institut für Produktionstechnik und Automatisierung IPA

nachricht Jelly with memory – predicting the leveling of com-mercial paints
15.12.2017 | Fraunhofer-Institut für Produktionstechnik und Automatisierung IPA

All articles from Process Engineering >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Attoseconds break into atomic interior

A newly developed laser technology has enabled physicists in the Laboratory for Attosecond Physics (jointly run by LMU Munich and the Max Planck Institute of Quantum Optics) to generate attosecond bursts of high-energy photons of unprecedented intensity. This has made it possible to observe the interaction of multiple photons in a single such pulse with electrons in the inner orbital shell of an atom.

In order to observe the ultrafast electron motion in the inner shells of atoms with short light pulses, the pulses must not only be ultrashort, but very...

Im Focus: Good vibrations feel the force

A group of researchers led by Andrea Cavalleri at the Max Planck Institute for Structure and Dynamics of Matter (MPSD) in Hamburg has demonstrated a new method enabling precise measurements of the interatomic forces that hold crystalline solids together. The paper Probing the Interatomic Potential of Solids by Strong-Field Nonlinear Phononics, published online in Nature, explains how a terahertz-frequency laser pulse can drive very large deformations of the crystal.

By measuring the highly unusual atomic trajectories under extreme electromagnetic transients, the MPSD group could reconstruct how rigid the atomic bonds are...

Im Focus: Developing reliable quantum computers

International research team makes important step on the path to solving certification problems

Quantum computers may one day solve algorithmic problems which even the biggest supercomputers today can’t manage. But how do you test a quantum computer to...

Im Focus: In best circles: First integrated circuit from self-assembled polymer

For the first time, a team of researchers at the Max-Planck Institute (MPI) for Polymer Research in Mainz, Germany, has succeeded in making an integrated circuit (IC) from just a monolayer of a semiconducting polymer via a bottom-up, self-assembly approach.

In the self-assembly process, the semiconducting polymer arranges itself into an ordered monolayer in a transistor. The transistors are binary switches used...

Im Focus: Demonstration of a single molecule piezoelectric effect

Breakthrough provides a new concept of the design of molecular motors, sensors and electricity generators at nanoscale

Researchers from the Institute of Organic Chemistry and Biochemistry of the CAS (IOCB Prague), Institute of Physics of the CAS (IP CAS) and Palacký University...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

2nd International Conference on High Temperature Shape Memory Alloys (HTSMAs)

15.02.2018 | Event News

Aachen DC Grid Summit 2018

13.02.2018 | Event News

How Global Climate Policy Can Learn from the Energy Transition

12.02.2018 | Event News

 
Latest News

Basque researchers turn light upside down

23.02.2018 | Physics and Astronomy

Finnish research group discovers a new immune system regulator

23.02.2018 | Health and Medicine

Attoseconds break into atomic interior

23.02.2018 | Physics and Astronomy

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>