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New Family of Ferroelectric Materials Raises Possibilities for Improved Information, Energy Storage

Thin film being sputter-deposited from metal sources.

Said Jon-Paul Maria, Penn State professor of materials science and engineering, "We've identified a new family of materials from which we can make tiny capacitors and we can set their polarization orientation so that their surface charge is either plus or

Credit: Materials Research Institute, Penn State

A new family of materials that could result in improved digital information storage and uses less energy may be possible thanks to a team of Pennsylvania State University (Penn State) researchers who demonstrated ferroelectricity in magnesium-substituted zinc oxide.

Ferroelectric materials are spontaneous electricly polarized bcause negative and positive charges in the material tend toward opposite sides and with the application of an external electric field reorient. They can be affected by physical force, which is why they are useful for push-button ignitors such as those found in gas grills. They can also be used for data storage and memory, because they remain in one polarized state without additional power and so are low-energy digital storage solutions.

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