The overall objective of the proposed research is to investigate the use of nanoindentation to characterize the electromechanical properties of ferroelectric thin films. The force, displacement and charge transient signals provide information on the elastic, plastic, ferroelastic and electromechanical properties of the films. The main objectives of the project are to investigate the use of nanoindentation to determine:
- Elastic properties
- Depolarization stresses to meet these objectives will require the development of models to understand the interaction of the complex stress field of spherical indenters with the film/substrate composite and the anisotropic electromechanical properties of the thin films. We will also need to investigate the mechanisms for polarization changes and the criteria that control them. The project will integrate with research currently being performed at QMW on ferroelectric thin films. The research will lead to the development of new techniques for their characterization. The data will improve our understanding of their properties and enable films with improved properties to be developed. It will also provide data that will be required to optimize the design of MEMS devices. The Department of Materials at QMW will provide a very active and stimulating environment for developing the applicant's research skills. The experience of the researchers within the Department will be of considerable help to the applicant in achieving the objectives of the proposed research. The Department has an international reputation and attracts many visitors and collaborators. This will provide an excellent environment for the applicant to discuss work and develop contacts with international researchers. The Department has excellent processing, micro structural, mechanical and electrical facilities, which will enable the applicant to learn important new techniques. The proposed project is an extension of research that is currently being performed at QMW. The applicant's knowledge of ferroelectrics and expertise in electrical characterization will compliment and enhance this research. The applicant's work will integrate into existing collaborative research (EC supported project as part of the COST 528) on thin films involving several laboratories in Europe.