Synchrotron-based research has shown that the ability to generate and hold a switchable electric field (ferroelectric behavior) is possible in materials as thin as 1.2 nanometers (one-billionth of a meter, several hundred thousand times smaller than the period at the end of this sentence).
Ferroelectric thin films have a broad range of applications for both military and industrial equipment including specialized light and infra-red sensors, memory systems involving holographic optical storage of unprecedented capacity, tuneable microwave components (useful for phase-array radar), and microelectromechanical systems.
The technological potential of these materials depends on maintaining stable ferroelectric properties as electronic devices continue to be miniaturized. Studying such devices requires
Intensity of ferroelectricity (the ability to retain a switchable electric polarization) over a range of temperatures.
Work performed at the Argonne National Laboratory.