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Details of Grant 

EPSRC Reference: GR/S96586/01
Title: Fabrication & Investigation of Single Crystal 'Thin Film' Capacitors Cut Using a Focused Ion Beam Microscope (FIB)
Principal Investigator: Gregg, Professor J
Other Investigators:
Bowman, Professor R
Researcher Co-Investigators:
Project Partners:
Department: Sch of Mathematics and Physics
Organisation: Queen's University of Belfast
Scheme: Standard Research (Pre-FEC)
Starts: 24 January 2005 Ends: 23 July 2008 Value (£): 185,909
EPSRC Research Topic Classifications:
Materials Characterisation Materials Synthesis & Growth
EPSRC Industrial Sector Classifications:
Related Grants:
Panel History:  
Summary on Grant Application Form
Describe the proposed research using (about 200) words geared to the non-specialist reader.Inherent in the definition of ferroelectricity is the existence of a polarisation state, the direction of which can be reversed on application of an externally applied electric field. This property makes ferroelectric materials obvious candidates for non-volatile binary data storage, and several major players in the electronics industry are actively pursuing this form of memory (e.g. Toshiba, Samsung and Ramtron). As the technology develops, and data densities increase, the dimensions of ferroelectric components will be set to decrease dramatically. This has serious consequences, as the properties of ferroelectrics are strongly affected by reduced size - so-called 'size effects'. Although size effects have been observed for some time, a detailed understanding of their origin has been elusive. Mainly this is because in 'conventional thin film' studies inherent size effects on ferroelectricity are easily masked by extrinsic artefacts.This proposal seeks funding to support a novel and adventurous investigation into the functional properties of single crystal 'thin film' capacitors cut using a Focused Ion Beam Microscope (FIB). The novelty and adventure is that this will be the first time that the behaviour of thin film ferroelectric systems will be investigated without the large number of extrinsic factors that occur in normally deposited thin film systems. FIBed single crystal thin film capacitors have no grain boundaries, are relatively free from substrate clamping effects common in conventional thin films and they display none of the microstructural variability that can be introduced through standard thin film growth where microstructure is not independent of the lower electrode material onto which the film is grown. The programme offers a unique opportunity to distinguish intrinsic properties from extrinsic artefacts in the technologically important and scientifically rich area of ferroelectric materials at reduced dimensions.The programme also represents an important formal collaboration between the thin film electroceramics research group in the Physics Department of Queens University Belfast (QUB), and the Symetrix Centre for Ferroics within the Department of Earth Sciences in Cambridge.
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Organisation Website: http://www.qub.ac.uk