Clive A. Randall is a Professor of Materials Science and Engineering and the Director of Materials Research Institute at The Pennsylvania State University, University Park, Pennsylvania, USA. He was Director for the Center for Dielectric Studies between 1997 and 2013, and in 2013 formed a new Center as Co-Director, the Center for Dielectrics and Piezoelectrics, for which he still serves as Technical Advisor. Prof. Randall received a B.Sc. with Honors in Physics in 1983 from the University of East Anglia, and a Ph.D. in Experimental Physics from the University of Essex in 1987, both in the United Kingdom. He has authored/co-authored over 470 technical papers, with over 30,000 citations and an h-factor of 93. He also holds 26 patentsin the field of electroceramics. Prof. Randall’s research interests are in the area of discovery and compositional design of functional materials for electrical energy transduction and storage, defect chemistry and crystal chemistry and their impact on phase transition behavior, electromechanical devices based upon electrostriction and piezoelectrics, supercapacitors, thermoelectrics, and microwave materials. He has used a variety of different processing and characterization methods that have impacted manufacturing and development processes for materials, particularly in the electronics and ceramics industry. His research group has been supported from a number of different sources, including the National Science Foundation, the U.S. Air Force Office of Scientific Research, U.S. Department of Energy, the Office of Naval Research, the U.S.-Israel Binational Scientific Foundation, NASA, and substantial funding from the private sector. Professor Randall was honored with the American Ceramic Society Fulrath Award in 2002; the Wilson Research Award from the College of Earth and Mineral Sciences, Penn State University, in 2003; he spent one year (2004–2005) as a Visiting Fellow of Fitzwilliam College, University of Cambridge, U.K.; he was elected Academician of the World Academy of Ceramics in 2006; in 2007, he and his colleagues received the R&D 100 Award for their Integrated Fiber Alignment Package (IFAP); he received the Spriggs Phase Equilibria Award in 2008; in 2009, he received the University Scholar Award (Engineering) from Penn State University; he received the Japanese FMA International Award; he gave the Friedberg Lecture at the American Ceramic Society, both in 2011; in 2013, he received, along with his student, the Edward C. Henry Best Paper of the Year from the American Ceramics Society Electronics Division; he received the IEEE UFFC-S Ferroelectrics Recognition Award (2014); he received the Electroceramic Bridge Building Award at the 17th US-Japan Seminar on Dielectric and Piezoelectric Ceramics (2015), and he was elected Fellow of the National Academy of Inventors (2022). He is a Fellow of American Ceramic Society, Fellow of IEEE and the IEEE Ferroelectrics Committee, and an honorary Fellow of the European Ceramic Society.
This faculty member is associated with the Penn State Intercollege Graduate Degree Program (IGDP) in Materials Science and Engineering (MatSE) where a multitude of perspectives and cross-disciplinary collaboration within research is highly valued. Graduate students in the IGDP in MatSE may work with faculty members from across Penn State.
Professor Randall utilizes a combination of the material science approaches of structural-property-process-performance relations and coupling these with material physics to understand, design, and manufacture future generation electroceramic materials and devices. Specific materials the group is studying are ferroelectric and related materials, microwave, electrochemical, semiconducting, and piezoelectric materials in a variety of different forms, ranging from crystal structure, composition, particle and grain size, bulk, film and composites are considered.
His philosophy is to use extreme application needs to direct a fundamental study to enable material advances to be made and implemented. These extreme performance parameters include a combination of temperature, electric field strength, frequency- time and size reduction. Under these conditions, we are concerned with basic mechanisms that control the degradation under all times of use. These time dependent failure mechanisms may be controlled through important physical processes such as electron injection at an electrode or grain boundary, oxygen vacancy migration, defect dipole rotations, thermochemical and electrochemical reactions at interfaces. Any of these or similar phenomena are built into a material through the fabrication thermal processes and remain in a metastable state, but ultimately these defects drive the degradation mechanisms and thereby prevent the implementation of new materials into a system. Once understanding the sources and failure processes, our group develops methods through process modifications or design new materials or chemistries to suppress these deleterious effects. These methods have all been adopted by the capacitor industry as a quality control and fast screening technique for high performance dielectrics.
Professor Randall and his group are also very conscious of societal needs for energy and environment. This is also reflected in our research in capacitors, thermoelectrics, semiconductor devices, and energy storage devices, including lithium and sodium solid-state batteries. Furthermore, we are investigating novel processing techniques to substantially reduce the energy required for fabricating ceramics and ceramic-polymer composites. They have recently introduced a new technique, which we have termed Cold Sintering Process, enabling the densification of many materials at temperatures between 100°C and 300°C. These temperatures enable co-sintering of ceramic materials with thermoplastic materials to develop unique composites and new functionalities. Processing at these temperatures enables all aspects of material families to be integrated to a common platform in the form of new types of nanocomposites and/or devices.
Technology Impacted By Research:
Many of the major manufacturers of multilayer ceramic capacitors use fast firing approaches to control the production of the most advanced devices. The early work for this came from Randall’s efforts in the Center for Dielectric Studies. Further impact has been in the form of developing measurement techniques that have now been introduced as quality control methods for the production and screening of highly reliable capacitive devices. New compositions, materials, and dopant strategies have also been implemented into a number of electroceramic materials based on work from Randall’s group. All the major manufacturers of these components come to Penn State to work on these problems. Now, new companies are coming to see the benefits of cold sintering materials.