20th International Symposium on Applications of Ferroelectrics

23 Nov 2011

Messel Bursar Tim Stevenson sent his report from the 20th International Symposium on Applications of Ferroelectrics which was held at Westin Bayshore Hotel, Vancouver, Canada on 24 – 28 July 2011:

With over 500 attendees from across the globe, ISAF-PFM 2011 was a great success and a brilliant experience for my first year as a post-doctoral research fellow to meet and hear from so many professionals in the field of ferroelectrics and multiferroics.

The International Symposium on Applications of Ferroelectrics (ISAF) is regarded the highlight of the ferroelectrics calendar, and was this year combined with the International Symposium on Piezoresponse Force Microscopy on Nanoscale Phenomena in Polar Materials (PFM). This joint meeting enabled an excellent platform for intellectual exchange as well as broadening the focus to include issues that can be addressed by both communities. At a time where nanoscale ferroelectric and multiferroic devices are becoming prominent in modern and future electronics the conference was well suited to this expanding area of research.

The conference stretched over 5 days, including workshops and tutorials on various categories in the ferroelectrics realm, and featured 3 full days of oral presentations over five parallel sessions to cover topics such as applications, bulk materials, thin films, single crystals, multiferroics, ferroelectrics, piezoelectrics, characterization and nanomaterials.

The wide range of sessions helped me to grasp the depth and breadth of the work being undertaken in the ferroelectric field, and to get an idea of the pace and direction that developing research is going in. To this end, the first two days were particularly most informative and valuable for me, with some excellent presentations and plenary talks from leading academics, with the highlight being the applications session, showing how ferroelectric materials can be employed in a range of devices from ultrasonic scalpels to explosively pulse driven systems, and most relevantly, how piezoelectrics are used in high temperature applications, and how developments in high temperature materials are required in oilfield and space exploration industries.

My own oral presentation as well as the poster session allowed me to present my work, and proved an excellent platform to receive feedback and generate discussion, as well as a chance to meet and exchange ideas with other institutions working in the same area.

Attending this meeting has certainly helped me think of new ways to investigate and characterize my materials further, and even begin collaborations with other institutes, particularly the National Physical Laboratory in the UK.

As a whole the conference was a great success, and in the stunning settings of the British Columbia mountain ranges, the Marina and Vancouver’s Stanley Park, it certainly made it as enjoyable as it was informative, and for that I would like to thank SCI for supporting me.

Tim Stevenson
University of Leeds

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