01-29 EMA update

[Image above] Basic Science Division and Electronics Division held their 10th annual Electronic Materials and Applications Conference last week in Orlando, Fla. Credit: ACerS

The annual Electronic Materials and Applications Conference that ended last Friday in Orlando reached a key milestone: the conference celebrated its 10th anniversary.

The meeting, jointly organized by ACerS Electronics Division and Basic Science Division, welcomed more than 330 participants from around the globe. The conference’s 13 symposia covered topics ranging across superconductors, ferroic oxides, complex oxides, chalcogenides, materials for 5G, and much more. Attendees presented talks on the theoretical science and engineering research driven by increasing demand for sophisticated electronics in just about every application.

Electronics Division invited Jon-Paul Maria to provide the Wednesday plenary talk. Maria, a professor at Pennsylvania State University, presented his group’s work on electroceramic thin films for infrared plasmonic applications. Plasmonic materials couple light with charge carriers in materials, making them especially useful for photonic applications.

According to Maria, “Most work has been done on metals, which are readily available, but limited to visible light.” However, conducting electroceramics, because of their defect structure, can access IR carrier density values, which opens up applications such as perfect absorbers/emitters, IR detectors, surface sensors, and more.

Maria’s group grew thin film oxides, such as cadmium oxide (CdO), and experimented with a variety of dopants to understand trade-offs between mobility and carrier concentration. According to Maria, a key lesson learned was: “If you want an electroceramic to behave like a semiconductor, treat it like one.”

Purdue University professor John Blendell (right) greets ACerS staffer Greg Geiger at the EMA registration table in Orlando, Fla. Conference organizers from Basic Science Division were Blendell and Jeffrey Rickman from Lehigh University. Electronics Division organizers were John Ihlefeld (University of Virginia) and Alp Sehirlioglu (Case Western Reserve University). Credit: ACerS

Thursday’s plenary speaker, invited by Basic Science Division, was Yet-Ming Chiang, Kyocera Professor at MIT and serial entrepreneur. Chiang spoke about ceramic materials for the next generation of energy storage technologies, especially for transportation and large storage systems for power systems. The declining cost of renewable wind and solar systems pumps low-cost electricity into the energy portfolio, creating demand for electricity storage technologies. And, new energy storage systems will be needed for all transportation systems. “There’s always a new frontier,” Chiang says.

Chiang expounded on a variety of battery technology challenges yet to be solved and the opportunities for solving them with new materials such as lithium-lanthanum-aluminum-tantalum garnet. He also talked about sulfur-based flow batteries, which could meet power grid storage requirements. Sulfur, he noted, is a stockpiled waste product, and therefore abundant and very cheap. Interesting, isn’t it, that a renewable energy technology could simultaneously mitigate a waste problem?

John Ihlfeld (left) recognized the founding organizers of EMA to mark the 10th anniversary of EMA. From left: Paul Clem, Jacob Jones, and Geoff Brennecka

The organizers built much more than symposia into the meeting with plenty of networking opportunities, a poster session, student events and recognitions, and a conference dinner. Electronics Division organized a workshop to give students a preview of the meeting and ensure they got the most out of it. Basic Science Division followed up with a tutorial on impedance spectroscopy, an important characterization tool for the science found at this conference.

The conference closed with its ever-popular Failure Symposium, where scientists come clean about the bumps in their road to success.

Be sure to view images from the event on ACerS Flickr page. Join us again for EMA 2020 in Orlando, Fla., January 22-24, 2020.