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Friday, 30 May 2014

ICREA Research Prof. Gustau Catalan offers an invited talk in the Peking University

During his talk, he is giving an overview of the state of the art in the experimental study of flexoelectricity, emphasizing both the opportunities for applications and the fundamental questions regarding the interplay between flexoelectricity and size.

Prof. Gustau Catalan, ICREA Research Professor and Group Leader at ICN2, is offering today May 30th 2014 an invited talk at the Peking University, one of China's most prestigious collegiate institutions. During his talk, he is giving an overview of the state of the art in the experimental study of flexoelectricity, emphasizing both the opportunities for applications and the fundamental questions regarding the interplay between flexoelectricity and size.

Flexoelectricity is the polarization generated by an insulator when it is bent or inhomogeneously deformed. Unlike piezoelectricity, flexoelectricity is a universal property. It is also an entirely size-dependent property, being very small at the macroscale but huge at the nanoscale. It is precisely the large size of flexoelectricity at the nanoscale that is fuelling the current surge of interest in this phenomenon. Yet, for all the research, there are still very important open questions about this effect, including the real size of the flexoelectric coefficient, and whether or not the coefficients themselves, and not just the gradients, are size dependent.

ICREA Research Prof, Gustau Catalan leads the ICN2 Group of Oxide Nanoelectronics (ON). His research concerns size effects in oxides; specifically, what happens to the functional properties and phase transitions of oxide materials when you make them nanoscopically small. The materials studied include ferroelectrics, multiferroics, and Mott metal-insulators, and the properties most closely examined are magnetoelectricity, domain wall physics and flexoelectricity.