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Army Researchers Produce Anti-ferroelectric Thin Films From Lead Hafnate

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U.S. Army researchers used lead hafnate, a compound with anti-ferroelectric properties, to produce antiferroelectric thin films that could help warfighters with maintenance and control the large volume of energy and provide the military with a technological advantage over adversaries.

Brendan Hanrahan, a materials engineer at Army Research Laboratory, said in a statement published Monday anti-ferroelectrics enable harnessing of raw watts of pulse power needed in a defibrillator, railgun or other technologies that work on a burst of electrical power.

“Anti-ferroelectrics also naturally absorb oscillating signals, which make them excellent electronic filters,” he added.

Hanrahan and Nicholas Strnad, an Army materials scientist, studied the use of atomic layer deposition, which is a process employed by semiconductor manufacturers, to develop anti-ferroelectric thin films for silicon wafers.

“ARL has been a leader in atomic layer deposition of ferroelectrics for the past five years. If you combine this capability with the current ubiquity of hafnium, it’s very easy to imagine why we should try tackling this anti-ferroelectric lead hafnate from the old literature,” said Hanrahan.

Army looks to further evaluate the potential of lead hafnate as an anti-ferroelectric material.