Faye Bygrave: The International Symposium on Applications of Ferroelectrics

22 Aug 2012

Faye Bygrave was awarded a Rideal Travel Bursary earlier this year. She used the bursary to attend the International Symposium on Applications of Ferroelectrics. Here she shared her report on the symposium.

I attended the International Symposium on Applications of Ferroelectrics combined with the International Symposium on Piezoresponse Force Microscopy & Nanoscale Phenomena in Polar Materials and European Conference on the Applications of Polar Dielectrics following receipt of a Rideal Travel Bursary.  The conference was held at the University of Averio, Averiro, Portugal, on 9-13 July 2012.

I presented an oral presentation entitled Barium Titanate: Thin Films for Novel Memory Applications.
Through workshops at the conference and liaising with expert in this field I was able to explore the local bias-strain coupling which is mediated by Jahn-Teller effect distortions and oxygen vacancies diffusion, using piezoforce microscopy (PFM) to explore the local dynamics of surface chemistry at thin film interfaces. I am now able to share this technique with the Institute for Materials Research (Leeds University) and further our research in this field.

The main presenters at the conference were:

  • Paul Muralt (plenary)- Piezoelectric Thin Films: adding a new dimension to MEMS. This covered many areas from past to present research in this field but focused on the future direction of this research area and how societies future demands can be met using research in this area. 
  • Matjaz Valent (invited) – Energy Harvesting/Electrocaloric: This is an area that I have not worked in previously but based on this talk it seems that much of my research can be applied to this area in ways that I had not previously considered.

My attendance to this conference has already had, and will continue to have, an impact on my future career. Because this was several conferences combined I was able to share my knowledge on piezoelectric, ferroelectric and thin film structure with other members of the research community who specialize in different areas to myself such as colloidal nanotechnology, application design and surface coatings. From this I have initiated several new collaborative links where we intend to use my knowledge on thin film processing and characterisation to produce application for nano- coatings. This will be a new and novel area of research with great potential. I hope that this will shape my future career in this research field.

We have an immediate research group ‘Electroceramics’ which consists of 3 Post-Doctoral Researchers, 8 PhD students and ~5 Master students. All of these colleges will benefit from the ideas and new characterisation techniques that were gained from this conference. We are part of the Institute for Materials Research, University of Leeds and since been back in from the conference I have used these new characterisation techniques to assist with research for the wider Institute and discussed my future research direction with several members of the Institute in hope of forming collaborative links. I also teach undergraduate workshops in Materials Science where I will discuss these techniques and ideas.

I very much appreciate the financial help from SCI as this was a very important time in my research career where I was keen to develop my own research direction in collaboration with expects in the field. If it was not for this conference these collaborations and overall research direction would not have come about.

Faye  Bygrave

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