Ferroelectric Ceramics: History and Technology


  • Gene H. Haertling

    1. Department of Ceramic and Materials Engineering, Clemson University, Clemson, South Carolina 29634-0907
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    • Member, American Ceramic Society.

    • Fellow, American Ceramic Society.

  • B. M. Kulwicki—contributing editor

  • Presented at the 100th Annual Meeting of The American Ceramic Society, Cin-cinnati, OH, May 4, 1998 (Centennial Symposium on Perspectives on Ceramic and Glass Science and Technology, Paper No. SXVIII-007-98).


Ferroelectric ceramics were born in the early 1940s with the discovery of the phenomenon of ferroelectricity as the source of the unusually high dielectric constant in ceramic barium titanate capacitors. Since that time, they have been the heart and soul of several multibillion dollar industries, ranging from high-dielectric-constant capacitors to later developments in piezoelectric transducers, positive temperature coefficient devices, and electrooptic light valves. Materials based on two compositional systems, barium titanate and lead zirconate titanate, have dominated the field throughout their history. The more recent developments in the field of ferroelectric ceramics, such as medical ultrasonic composites, high-displacement piezoelectric actuators (Moonies, RAINBOWS), photostrictors, and thin and thick films for piezoelectric and integrated-circuit applications have served to keep the industry young amidst its growing maturity. Various ceramic formulations, their form (bulk, films), fabrication, function (properties), and future are described in relation to their ferroelectric nature and specific areas of application.