I am Yulian Yao from Georgia Institute of Technology. I am currently a third year graduate student working on ferroelectric/antiferroelectric thin films such as PZT or PZO thin films.

Ferroelectric thin films are widely used in MEMS applications to make various types of devices, such as actuators, sensors, non volatile memory, and capacitors. They are important components in today’s cell phones, computers , and many other devices.

A major challenge of applying ferroelectric thin films in MEMS applications is the incompatibility of processing conditions–the crystallization of ferroelectric thin films typically requires temperature at around 700 ℃ which is too high for MEMS techniques. What I am working on is using new heating techniques make the crystallization of ferroelectric thin films compatible with MEMS techniques, which not only makes the process more simple, but also lowers the cost of making ferroelectric related devices.

What interesting about research to me is that you will always have something unexpected from your research. Once I miscalculated the amount of chemicals I needed to put in the solution and got unexpected but excellent results from these samples. However, for one year, I did not know that I made that mistake and tries various ways to reproduce those good samples. Not until recently did I realize that I miscalculated the amount of the chemical. I successfully reproduced these results eventually, but I spent one year going the wrong direction. This teaches me that I should always keep detailed records on my lab notebook and that there are still a lot to learn from “bad” results.