Center for Piezoelectric Materials and Devices
There is a growing need for piezoelectric materials in the commercial and military sectors of the United States. Piezoelectric materials and devices have applications in several industries including medical, automotive, consumer electronics, and homeland security. Some examples of their uses include medical ultrasound systems, sonar, fish finders, hydrophones, precision positioning devices, and sensors. Pennsylvania companies must remain competitive in the areas of ultrasound, new piezoelectrics for high temperature stability, and environmentally friendly (lead-free) piezoelectrics in order to extend their market penetration globally. In addition, they need to be kept fully apprised of developments in single crystals, ceramics, polymeric, and thin film piezoelectrics.
To overcome these obstacles, Professor Susan Trolier-McKinstry has proposed the Ben Franklin Center of Excellence to develop an industry-led Center for Piezoelectric Materials and Devices. Trolier-McKinstry is Professor of Ceramic Science and Engineering and Director of W. M. Keck Smart Materials Integration Laboratory at Penn State. She has proposed initial thrust areas for the center to be ultrasonics, new materials development for advanced sensors and actuators, and resonator piezoelectrics.
The Penn State electroceramics faculty has led the field of piezoelectrics for more than 35 years, and in the last few years has pioneered the exploration of high strain piezoelectric single crystals, new high transition temperature morphotropic phase boundaries, high strain polymer piezoelectrics, copper metallization for piezoelectric fuel injectors, and thin film piezoelectrics for microelectromechanical systems (MEMS). There are 38 companies within Pennsylvania working with piezoelectrics and ultrasound. Penn State faculty members have extensive experience working with companies such as Agilent, Bridge Semiconductor, Intel, Northrop Grumman, Bosch, TRS Ceramics, and Wilcoxon Research. They are eager to continue the advancement of the Pennsylvania piezoelectrics industry.
If approved, the proposed Center for Piezoelectric Materials and Devices will begin as part of the existing National Science Foundation I/UCRC Center for Dielectric Studies, also based at Penn State. Member companies will propose research topics, and choose projects by voting amongst proposals received from the faculty.