International ferroelectrics

At the previous European ferroelectric meeting, the emphasis was on phase transitions. At the most recent meeting in September, 2001, in Madrid, the topics were much more diverse, with interest in thin films and other areas gaining in significance. Ferroelectric smart cards are already a 2.5 billion dollar industry and non-volatile ferroelectric memories are on the market. Prof. Ginzburg placed phase transitions in ferroelectrics in historical context and emphasized the importance of toridal moment. Prof Muller, the 1987 Nobel Prize winner, spoke about tricritical points and incommensurate phases. Some presentations of Particular interest concerned: A 2-dimensional Ising-like model for ferroelectric behavior (A. Garcia), the atomistic mechanism in relaxor ferroelectrics (T. Egami), the use of Raman spectroscopy to measure complete dispersion curves (P. Baranek), the importance of coupling between the modes for the soft mode phase transition (S. Kamba) and K. Parlinski’s 'phonon' program,

Wednesday morning consisted of very enlightening talks about great 20th Century Solid State Physicists', including the Braggs (A. M. Glazer), Peter Debye (E. Courten) and Landau (V. Ginzburg).

Vincent Jenning, U. of Warwick