MSE student carries out piezoelectric experiments in Germany
Fourth year Ph.D. candidate Chris Fancher, who received his B.S. in Multi-Disciplinary Engineering from Purdue in 2009, traveled to Germany for a summer internship at the Technical University of Darmstadt. Chris who is advised here at Purdue by Professor Blendell and Professor Bowman had the opportunity to work with Professor Jurgen Rödel and his research group on Lead-free piezoelectrics while in Germany. A scholarship provided by The Integrated Graduate Student College supported Chris during his four months there. A continuing collaboration between Purdue MSE and TU Darmstadt, that includes previous attendees Professor Jacob Jones (Purdue Ph.D., University of Florida MSE Faculty) and Professor Robert Moon (Purdue MSE Faculty) and Professor Jurgen Rödel, in collaboration with Professor Edwin García, allowed Chris to work on cutting edge piezoelectric characterization equipment. These experiments, unique in their kind, enable researchers to observe the bi-axial strain state of these materials whilst under a high electric field. Chris has also found that crystallographic texture affects the high-field strain response, meaning at a fixed field strength the material will deform more if there is a texture.
When used in a device, fatigue through phase transformation during electrical cycling often will reduce the lifetime of a piezoelectric material; therefore, information on the detailed volumetric changes of the material is crucial. Experiments like these provide information on the potential longevity of these piezoelectric materials in applications such as sensor modules and high precision microscopes. Chris is planning to present his summer’s work at the Electronic Materials and Applications conference in January 2013. More information on Professor Rödell’s lab and TU Darmstadt can be found here.