Ferroelectric thin films have experienced tremendous development in recent years due to the advent of sophisticated film-synthesis techniques and an increase in the understanding of the related materials science and integration of films into various novel devices. Major advances in ferroelectric thin-film synthesis and characterization were addressed last month in the June MRS Bulletin. This volume is dedicated to selective device issues and applications.
Ferroelectric materials can be used to fabricate capacitors for integration into nonvolatile ferroelectric random-access memories (NVFRAMs) and as high di-electric layers for capacitors with high capacitance for manufacturing planar dynamic random-access memories (DRAMs). Ceramic conductors can be applied to ohmic, voltage-dependent, and thermally sensitive resistors; fast-ion conductors; and humidity and gas sensors. Piezoelectricity is being exploited in micromachines such as accelerometers, displacement transducers, and actuators such as those required for inkjet printers, for video-recording head positioning, and for micromachining. Pyroelectricity can be utilized in the fabrication of high-sensitivity room-temperature infrared detectors while electro-optic activity can be used in color-filter devices, displays, image-storage systems, and optical switches for integrated optical systems. These applications of electroceramic thin films are only part of a more extensive list.