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Oxides, ferroelectrics


Phase transitions and properties of ferroics in the form of single crystals, ceramics and thin films – II

Ferroic materials undergo a large variety of phase transitions and also exhibit important physical properties, many of which are used in industries world-wide. The study of their phase transitions provides useful ways to understand the origin of the properties, and thus to suggest new materials. Functionality in ferroics can be considered independently on their sizes. They are functional in the macroscopic, microscopic and nanoscopic scales in the form of single crystals, ceramics and thin films. Additionally, the role of controlled content of defects and hence the surface-bulk interrelation makes these materials scientifically exciting and perspective.


Ferroics exhibit strong changes in their properties at a phase transition between a high-symmetry phase, where the material is in a non-ferroic state, and a low-symmetry phase, where the shape of the unit-cell is slightly altered. This breaking of symmetry leads to the appearance of a new physical quantity that can be switched in some way. For instance, the oldest known ferroic property is that of ferromagnetism where magnetization can be switched by an applied magnetic field, leading to magnetic hysteresis. By analogy with ferromagnetism, ferroelectrics are where an electric polarization is switched by an applied electric field, again with hysteresis; and ferroelastics are where strain is switched by an applied stress. These ferroics are known as primary ferroics. One can also have multiferroics where two or more such ferroic properties are present, e.g. magnetization can be switched by an applied electric field, and vice versa. It can be appreciated therefore that ferroics provide a rich field of materials with interesting properties and behaviour, many of which have very important industrial use.

Group-subgroup symmetry changes at phase transitions often define the properties of ferroics. However, changes in micro- and nano-structures are at least as important. It is possible to tune both by changing the form of the material: single crystal, ceramic or thin film. This led to major breakthroughs such as the discovery of unexpected phases and properties at interfaces, as well as giant responses and phase transitions induced by light or electric field. The recent interest for topological structures in ferroics, e.g. domain walls, vortexes, skyrmions, which exhibit their own functionalities and properties, brings a new playground which makes ferroic materials even more scientifically exciting. The symposium will bring together experts working at the theoretical and experimental level.

Hot topics to be covered by the symposium:

  • Structural phase transitions and critical phenomena
  • Magnetoelectric and multiferroic materials
  • Topological structures, domain boundary engineering
  • Interfacial properties, 2D gases
  • Thin films, multilayers and heterostructures
  • Advances in ab-initio calculations and experimental methods
  • Electro/magneto/mechano-caloric effects
  • Flexoelectricity
  • Piezotronics and photo-piezotronics
  • Integration and devices
  • Light-induced phenomena
  • Defects and disorder in ferroics
  • Electronic structure and optical properties
  • Ferroelectrics and antiferroelectrics
  • Piezoelectrics and lead-free piezoelectrics
  • Relaxors and applications
  • Recent advances in electron microscopic study of atomic arrangements
  • Structural aspects of photovoltaic perovskites, organic-inorganic photovoltaic materials

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Symposium organizers
Anthony Michael GLAZERUniversity of Oxford

Clarendon Laboratory, Parks Road, Oxford OX1 3PU, UK
Guillaume NATAFUniversity of Cambridge

Department of Materials Science, 27 Charles Babbage Road, Cambridge, UK
Krystian ROLEDERInstitute of Physics | University of Silesia

Uniwersytecka 4 40-007 Katowice Poland

+48 32 359 1478
Marek PAŚCIAKInstitute of Physics, Czech Acad. Sci.

Na Slovance 2, 182 21 Prague 8, CZ