ECE’s Vincent Harris Receives Edward C. Henry Award
Vincent Harris, University Distinguished and William Lincoln Smith Professor, electrical and computer engineering, has been awarded the Edward C. Henry Award given annually to an outstanding paper reporting original work in the Journal of the American Ceramic Society or the Bulletin during the previous calendar year on a subject related to electronic ceramics. The winning paper is selected by the Committee on Awards and Scholarships and judged to reflect the best in originality of content, scientific and technical merit, and quality of the presentation.
The paper, “Crystal structure and enhanced microwave dielectric properties of Ta5+ substituted Li3Mg2NbO6 ceramics,” was published in the Journal of the American Ceramic Society. The paper represents a rare China—USA collaboration, where Harris co-supervised two students who were first and second authors. This collaboration demonstrates what is possible when U.S. and Chinese students and faculty work cooperatively to solve such challenging and significant problems facing commercial markets.
Dielectrics are a class of electronic materials of great importance to high-frequency electronics such as cell phones and automobile sensors and power systems. They play the central role of storing energy as electric charges for use by other components when call upon.
As these technologies are advancing ever so rapidly, new materials having better performance are in constant demand. These demands include superior performance in power handling efficiency. In this context, efficiency includes the material’s ability to function at high frequencies without losing power in the form of heat.
A particularly promising material is the lithium magnesium niobate (LiMgNbO or LMNO) system. Although the properties of these specific materials show outstanding potential, their high-frequency efficiency remained less than ideal and this led to its lack of widespread adoption.
In our study, we introduced the tantalum (Ta) ion to the LMNO material system. Ta is known to have a very high oxidation state that in theory would improve the high-frequency efficiency of LMNO as long as it was introduced in a manner as to not degrade its many other important performance properties.
Due to the very hard work and diligence of the students, and effective mentoring of the faculty and participating professionals, just the right amount of Ta and its optimal process conditions were achieved.