New papers recently published by Electrosciences Ltd

"Dielectric constants of bulk ferroelectric PZT measured by terahertz time-domain spectroscopy,” , M. Naftaly, M. G. Cain, S. Lepadatu, T. Buchacher & J. Allam, Advances in Applied Ceramics, Jan. 2016.

The complex permittivity of bulk ceramic ferroelectric of nominal composition PbZr0.4Ti0.6O3 was measured in the range 0.2–2 THz using transmission time-domain spectroscopy. The results indicate strong absorption and dispersion in this frequency range as often seen in highly disordered and polar materials. The results are compared to equivalent thin film data in the literature, and significant differences in the real and imaginary permittivity suggest that substrate clamping and degree of polarisation of the ferroelectric thin film materials affect dielectric properties even at these high frequencies.

“Simultaneous dynamic electrical and structural measurements of functional materials,” C. Vecchini, P. Thompson, M. Stewart, A. Muniz-Piniella, S. R. C. McMitchell, J. Wooldridge, S. Lepadatu, L. Bouchenoire, S. Brown, D. Wermeille, O. Bikondoa, C. A. Lucas, T. P. A. Hase, M. Lesourd, D. Dontsov, and M. G. Cain, Rev. Sci. Instrum., vol. 86, no. 10, pp. 103901–10, Oct. 2015.

A new materials characterization system developed at the XMaS beamline, located at the European Synchrotron Radiation Facility in France, is presented. We show that this new capability allows to measure the atomic structural evolution (crystallography) of piezoelectric materials whilst simultaneously measuring the overall strain characteristics and electrical response to dynamically (ac) applied external stimuli.

Free technology reports - Energy Harvesting and Rectification

Two free reports, authored by Electrosciences Ltd, for the UK's Knowledge Transfer Network, are available online:
Report on the rectification of harvested energy in vibrational energy harvesting materials technologies: Materials, power systems design and electronic engineering issues.
Report: New Materials for Transduction and Storage.
To be able to download these reports, you will need to be registered on the KTN website. It's simple, and quick to do this and the website does contain a great deal of useful information, contacts and resources in many technology areas.

Future & Emerging Technologies H2020 Event Report

On 24 November academics and industry representatives gathered in London to learn about funding opportunities in the Future & Emerging Technologies (FET) area of the 2016/2017 Horizon 2020 work programme.

The brokerage event, organised by the UK National Contact Point for FET, BIS and KTN, attracted over 70 delegates from the UK.

Electrosciences Ltd. Director, Prof Markys Cain, rounded off the day with an evaluator’s perspective. A full set of presentations are available to download.

Characterisation of Ferroelectric Bulk Materials and Thin Films

Published by Springer June 2014

New book published by Director of Electrosciences Ltd.

Springer Series in Measurement Science and Technology: Volume 2 2014

ISBN: 978-1-4020-9310-4 (Print) 978-1-4020-9311-1 (Online)

Editor: Markys G. Cain

This will be the first in a series and I hope that you find it interesting and of use in your research.

Table of contents:

  • Electrical Measurement of Ferroelectric Properties
  • Piezoelectric Resonance
  • Direct Piezoelectric Measurement: The Berlincourt Method
  • Characterisation of Pyroelectric Materials
  • Interferometry for Piezoelectric Materials and Thin Films
  • Temperature Dependence of Ferroelectric and Piezoelectric Properties of PZT Ceramics
  • Measurement and Modelling of Self-Heating in Piezoelectric Materials and Devices
  • Piezoresponse Force Micropscopy
  • Indentation Stiffness Analysis of Ferroelectric Thin Films
  • Losses in Piezoelectrics via Complex Resonance Analysis
  • Dielectric Breakdown in Dielectrics and Ferroelectric Ceramics
  • Standards for Piezoelectric and Ferroelectric Ceramics

Collaboration to provide new insights into Advanced Materials

The understanding of advanced materials and how they perform under different conditions will be enhanced thanks to a new research collaboration between the Science & Technology Facilities Council (STFC) and the National Physical Laboratory (NPL).

NPL has signed a Memorandum of Understanding with STFC to work with the Oxfordshire based ISIS facility, the UK's pulsed neutron and muon source, to both increase collaboration between the two organisations and jointly develop innovative capabilities to enhance our understanding of advanced materials, particularly multi-ferroics, and how they perform under different conditions. Long term, the research collaboration aims to make computers (including mobile devices) smaller and faster while using less power. These findings from the collaboration should be of real benefit to UK industry in the fields of micro-electronics.

The desire for smaller, more powerful computing devices and the need to reduce power consumption are pushing current materials to the limit. Multiferroics are a promising group of materials for taking us to the next generation of computing devices. However, before these materials can be used, we need to understand their properties at the atomic scale. This collaboration will lead us closer to that goal.

Dr Brian Bowsher, NPL's Managing Director, welcomed this agreement. He said: "ISIS is recognised as the leading short pulse spallation facility in the world and will be critical for the future development of neutron science in Europe over the next two decades. NPL has also been looking at the metrology requirements over this timescale in its 'Metrology for the 2020s' strategy. We see exciting opportunities to work with ISIS, notably in materials science - particularly for electronic and functional materials. This collaboration is a great example of two internationally-leading government laboratories working together for maximum benefit: this collaboration should enhance the outputs of our National Measurement System programmes and generate greater impact for both STFC and NPL."

Professor Sean Langridge, ISIS Division Head at STFC, said: "I'm delighted that the signing of this agreement will strengthen the relationship between STFC and NPL. Not only will this advance our atomic scale knowledge of technologically relevant materials, it will capitalise on the expertise of both ISIS and NPL scientists and help us build new capabilities for our user community."

Initially, NPL and ISIS scientists plan to perform simultaneous, real-time measurements of high resolution neutron diffraction patterns and electric polarisation on relevant technological materials. There is considerable interest in multiferroic materials for use in computing and communications applications where an understanding of the magnetic structure is important and where neutron diffraction can provide significant insights. It is hoped that combining NPL and STFC ISIS expertise in developing a new measurement technique will bring new understanding to the couplings at play in these important materials and prove valuable for the development of new devices, including mobile computers, sensors, actuators and memory devices.

Professor Markys Cain, Science Area Leader for Functional Materials at NPL, said: "I have collaborated with scientists at ISIS for over a decade and am very excited about the opportunity that this brings in creating new links between materials scientists and metrologists at NPL and the unique facilities and scientific excellence at STFC ISIS. In our first collaboration, NPL's Functional Materials team are working with the beamline scientists at ISIS on the WISH instrument, bringing new in situ dielectric polarisation measurements of ferroelectrics and multiferroics to be coupled to the neutron diffraction capabilities of this world class beamline."

Find out more about NPL's Functional Materials research

Contact: Markys Cain

Copyright: NPL

Director Electrosciences wins prestigious award

Electrosciences Director and Principal Research Scientist at NPL,  Markys Cain, has been awarded the 2009 Verulam Medal by the Institute of Materials, Minerals & Mining for his distinguished contribution to the field of ceramics. The award recognises the work that Markys has done over the past 12 years  in developing the metrology capability to characterise a new generation of piezoelectric and ferroelectric materials and devices

Markys has also been appointed as a visiting professor in the School of Engineering and Materials Science, Queen Mary, University of London (QMUL).