Susan Trolier-McKinstry

  • Professor of Ceramic Science and Engineering
    Director of the Penn State Nanofabrication Facility
    The Pennsylvania State University


Susan Trolier-McKinstry is the Steward S. Flaschen Professor of Ceramic Science and Engineering, Professor of Electrical Engineering, and Director of the Nanofabrication facility at the Pennsylvania State University. Her main research interests include thin films for dielectric and piezoelectric applications. Her group studies the fundamental mechanisms that control the properties of ferroelectric films, the processing science associated with growing and patterning films, and piezoelectric microelectromechanical systems; they have published >400 papers in this field. She is a fellow of the American Ceramic Society, IEEE, and the Materials Research Society, and an academician of the World Academy of Ceramics. She currently serves as an associate editor for Applied Physics Letters. She is 2017 President of the Materials Research Society; previously she served as president of the IEEE Ultrasonics, Ferroelectrics and Frequency Control Society, as well as Keramos. She is the recipient of the IEEE Ferroelectrics Achievement Award, the Robert E. Newnham Award, the Jeppson, Fulrath, and Robert Coble Awards of the American Ceramic Society, the Wilson Outstanding Research Award, the Ceramics Education Council Outstanding Educator Award, the Wilson Award for Outstanding Teaching in the College of Earth and Mineral Sciences, the Materials Research Laboratory Outstanding Faculty Award, and a National Science Foundation Career grant. She was a Distinguished Lecturer for IEEE Ultrasonics, Ferroelectrics, and Frequency Control Society. Twenty-one people that she has advised/co-advised have taken faculty positions around the world.


Thin Film Piezoelectrics and Their Applications

Piezoelectric materials couple electrical and mechanical energies, and as such, offer an interesting platform to study numerous functional properties. Piezoelectric thin films are ubiquitous in filters and duplexers for cell phones, and are of increasing interest in low voltage microelectromechanical systems (MEMS) for sensing, actuation, and energy harvesting. This talk will discuss how materials are optimized for these applications, as well as examples of the use of piezoelectric films over a wide range of length scales. The key figures of merit for resonators, actuators, and energy harvesting will be discussed, with emphasis on how to achieve these on practical substrates. Recent work on doped AlN for cell phone resonators will be reviewed. In addition, the roles of crystallographic orientation and domain state will be described for low voltage actuators and mechanical harvesters in thin films with the perovskite structure. Examples of integration into MEMS structures will also be discussed, including adaptive optics for X-ray telescopes, low frequency and non-resonant piezoelectric energy harvesting devices, inkjet printers, and ultrasound transducers for miniaturized medical diagnostics.