Science and Technology of Electroceramic Thin Films
The basic and applied science of electroceramic thin films constitute one of the fast interdisciplinary evolving fields of research worldwide. A major driving force for the extensive research being performed in many Universities and Industrial and National Laboratories is the promise of applications of electroceramic thin ftlms into a whole new generation of advanced microdevices that may revolutionize various technologies and create new multibillion dollar markets. Properties of electroceramic thin films that are being intensively investigated include electrical conductivity, ferroelectricity, piezoelectricity, pyroelectricity, electro-optic activity, and magnetism. Perhaps the most publicized application of electroceramics is that related to the new high temperature superconducting (HTSC) materials, which has been extensively discussed in numerous national and international conferences, including NATO/ASI's and ARW's. Less glamorously publicized applications, but as important as those of HTSC materials, are those involving the other properties mentioned above, which were the subject of this ARW. Investigation on ferroelectric thin films has experienced a tremendous development in recent years due to the advent of sophisticated film synthesis techniques and a substantial improvement in the understanding of the related materials science and implementation of films in various novel devices. A major driving force behind the progress in this interdisciplinary field of research is the promise of the development of a new generation of non-volatile memories with long endurance and fast access time that can overcome the problems encountered in the semiconductor non-volatile memory of ferroelectric materials as high technology.