Professor Smith works in collaboration with colleagues at UNO and UNL to investigate new high-dielectric, ferroelectric, and related materials through the use of reliable and efficient computer simulations. Professor Smith then conducts the synthesis of those materials that calculations predict will be most useful in the applications desired.
The aforesaid materials occupy a very important niche within the electronics industry. Applications for these materials include, but are not limited to: ferroelectric thin films, dynamic random memories, nonvolatile ferroelectric random access memories, ferroelectric optical memories (the latter three applications occur in computer memories), frequency converters, microwave phase shifters, transducers (for application in hydrophones), micromechanical actuators and pumps (for use in small-scale fluid flow), optical waveguides, and pyroelectric detectors.
Because of their importance, many resources are expended on the development of new materials with improved properties. Professor Smith and his colleagues believe they are able to eliminate time-consuming and costly trial-and-error syntheses of new materials by vetting systems through computer simulations first. The increased capability of computer simulation techniques due to faster processors, cheaper memory, and increasingly reliable interatomic potentials make this approach very attractive and profitable.
Professor Smith and colleagues have focused their attention primarily on fluoroperovskites and other ionic materials that are conducive toward the types of computer simulations described above. Synthesis includes standard solid-state techniques and thin-film methods. Characterization is by x-ray diffraction, thermal analysis, and dielectric spectroscopy.
R. W. Smith, G. Luo, and W. N. Mei, “High-temperature crystal structure and electronic properties of cesium niobate, Cs2Nb4O11,” J. Phys. Chem. Solids 71, 1357-1361 (2010).
Smith, RW (Smith, Robert W.); Hu, CH (Hu, Chunhua); DeSpain, CD (DeSpain, Christopher D.), Dirubidium digallium oxide bis(orthoborate), ACTA CRYSTALLOGRAPHICA SECTION E-STRUCTURE REPORTS ONLINE, 64: I23-U11 Part 4 Apr 2008
Liu, J (Liu, Jianjun); Smith, RW (Smith, Robert W.); Mei, WN (Mei, Wai-Ning), Synthesis of the giant dielectric constant material CaCu3Ti4O12 by wet-chemistry methods, CHEMISTRY OF MATERIALS, 19 (24): 6020-6024 Nov 27 2007
Smith, RW (Smith, Robert W.); Hu, CH (Hu, Chunhua); Liu, JJ (Liu, Jianjun); Mei, WN (Mei, Wai-Ning); Lin, KJ (Lin, Kuan-Jiuh), Structure and antiferroelectric properties of cesium niobate, Cs2Nb4O11, JOURNAL OF SOLID STATE CHEMISTRY, 180 (4): 1193-1197 Apr 2007
Liu, JJ (Liu, Jianjun); Sui, YC (Sui, Yucheng); Duan, CG (Duan, Chun-Gang); Mei, WN (Mei, Wai-Ning); Smith, RW (Smith, Robert W.); Hardy, JR (Hardy, John R.), CaCu3Ti4O12: Low-temperature synthesis by pyrolysis of an organic solution, CHEMISTRY OF MATERIALS, 18 (16): 3878-3882 Aug 8 2006
Smith, RW; Mar, A; Liu, JJ; Schnell, S; Hardy, JR, Orientational disorder in sodium cadmium trifluoride trihydrate, NaCdF3.3H(2)O, MATERIALS RESEARCH BULLETIN, 41 (3): 667-673 Mar 9 2006
J. Liu, R. W. Smith, and W. N. Mei, "Synthesis of the giant dielectric material CaCu3Ti4O12 by wet chemistry methods", Chem. Mater. 19, 6020-6024 (2007).
R. W. Smith, C. Hu, J. Liu, W. N. Mei, and K. J. Lin, "Structure and antiferroelectric properties of cesium niobate, Cs2Nb4O11", J. Solid State Chem. 180, 1193-1197 (2007).
J. Liu, Y. Sui, C. Duan, W. N. Mei, R. W. Smith, and J. R. Hardy, "CaCu3Ti4O12: Low-temperature synthesis by pyrolysis of an organic solution", Chem. Mater. 18, 3878-3882 (2006).
R. W. Smith, A. Mar, J. Liu, S. Schnell, and J. R. Hardy, "Orientational disorder in sodium cadmium trifluoride trihydrate, NaCdF3•3H2O", Mat. Res. Bull. 41, 667-673 (2006).
J. Liu, C. G. Duan, W. N. Mei, R. W. Smith, and J. R. Hardy, "Dielectric properties and Maxwell-Wagner relaxation of compounds ACu3Ti4O12 (A = Ca, Bi2/3, Y2/3, La2/3)", J. Appl. Phys. 98, 093703-1/093703-5 (2005).
J. Liu, E. P. Kharitonova, C. G. Duan, W. N. Mei, R. W. Smith, and J. R. Hardy, "Phase transition in single crystal Cs2Nb4O11", J. Chem. Phys. 122, 144503/1-144503/7 (2005).