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MAY 2021 I SMT007 MAGAZINE 33 Rowe: Some of us on staff come from industry, and we understand those struggles. We're here to listen; nobody's comments or thoughts are just automatically shut down. Everyone has a voice, and everyone has an opportunity to speak at these committee meetings. Matties: You've deepened my appreciation for the work that you're doing for sure. It's not easy and you definitely are helping the indus- try be better. ank you for that. Rowe: ank you for the opportunity. SMT007 Teresa Rowe is IPC senior director of Assembly and Standards Technology. Chris Jorgensen is IPC director of Technology Transfer. Deb Obitz is IPC coordinator of Technical Programs. John Perry is a IPC director of Printed Board Standards and Technology. Andres Ojalill is IPC manager of Standards Development. Patrick Crawford is IPC manager of Design Standards and Related Industry Programs. University of Sydney researchers have made a significant discovery in the field of materials sci- ence, for the first time providing a full picture of how fatigue in ferroelectric materials occurs. Ferroelectric materials are used in many devices, including memories, capacitors, actuators and sen- sors. These devices are commonly used in both consumer and industrial instruments, such as com- puters, medical ultrasound equipment and under- water sonars. Over time, ferroelectric materials are subjected to repeated mechanical and electrical loading, leading to a progressive decrease in their functionality, ulti- mately resulting in failure. This process is referred to as "ferroelectric fatigue." It is a main cause of the failure of a range of elec- tronic devices, with discarded electronics a lead- ing contributor to e-waste. Globally, tens of millions of tonnes of failed electronic devices go to landfill every year. Using advanced in-situ electron micros- copy, the School of Aerospace, Mechanical and Mechatronic Engineering researchers were able to observe ferroelectric fatigue as it occurred. This technique uses an advanced microscope to "see," in real-time, down to the nanoscale and atomic levels. The researchers hope this new observa- tion, described in a paper published in Nature Communications, will help better inform the future design of ferroelectric nanodevices. "Our discovery is a significant scientific breakthrough as it shows a clear picture of how the ferroelectric degradation process is pres- ent at the nanoscale," said co-author Professor Xiaozhou Liao, also from the University of Sydney Nano Institute. Dr Qianwei Huang, the study's lead researcher, said: "Although it has long been known that ferro- electric fatigue can shorten the lifespan of electronic devices, how it occurs has previously not been well understood, due to a lack of suitable technology to observe it." Co-author Dr Zibin Chen said: "With this, we hope to better inform the engineering of devices with longer lifespans." "Our discovery has indicated that interfaces could actually speed up ferroelectric degradation. There- fore, better understanding of these processes is needed to achieve the best performance of devices," Dr Chen said. (Source: University of Sydney) Discovery Could Help Lengthen Lifespan of Electronic Devices

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