Long viewed as a topic in classical physics, ferroelectricity can be described by a quantum mechanical ab initio theory. Thin-film nanoscale device structures integrated onto Si chips have made inroads into the semiconductor industry. Recent prototype applications include ultrafast switching, cheap room-temperature magnetic-field detectors, piezoelectric nanotubes for microfluidic systems, electrocaloric coolers for computers, phased-array radar, and three-dimensional trenched capacitors for dynamic random access memories. Terabit-per-square-inch ferroelectric arrays of lead zirconate titanate have been reported on Pt nanowire interconnects and nanorings with 5-nanometer diameters. Finally, electron emission from ferroelectrics yields cheap, high-power microwave devices and miniature x-ray and neutron sources.
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