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On the Forefront: Dr. Pandey Helps Students Unlock the Potential of Electroceramics

            In the world of engineering, currency and relevance are two factors of particular importance.  It is a constantly changing field in which information can quickly become obsolete.  At the Ingram School of Engineering, faculty members are careful to choose programs and offer courses that provide students with knowledge that is both cutting edge and practical.  This keeps Texas State University-San Marcos students ahead of the pack competitively, exposing them to growing trends early on.  Dr. R. K. Pandey has worked extensively within the field of Electroceramics - widely known as one of the most important research areas that has emerged in materials science within the past two decades. 
            Electroceramics is a branch of materials engineering that is becoming increasingly important due to a special group of materials called oxides.  These multifunctional materials can perform two or more functions simultaneously and efficiently.  For example a ferroelectric material, which is an example of a classic multifunctional material, is found in non-linear oxides and it is characterized by the simultaneous existence of ferroelectricity, piezoelectricity and pyroelectricity. According to Dr. Pandey, these materials have many potential uses, “you can use these materials for, to say the least, two or three applications simultaneously…That is why they have now become an integral part of modern microelectronics.”
            The devices based on  ferroelectric materials are small, powerful, and dynamic making them ideal for use in a wide range of electronic devices including computer memory, medical diagnostic tools (such as ultrasound imaging),night vision cameras, infrared detectors, MEMS actuators and transducers, and many others.  The low cost of oxides contributes to the huge ramifications they have in today’s world of technology.     

  The Ingram School of Engineering‘s proposed electroceramics course clearly demonstrates Texas State University-San Marcos' commitment to both the academic and career development of its students.  In the fall of 2010 Electrical Engineering (and Physics) students will have the opportunity to gain exposure to this field through lectures and labs in the new course being offered, EE 4351: Fundamentals of Electroceramics.   “I don’t think any school in Texas offers this discipline and…this should be my contribution to Texas State students.” Dr. Pandey plans to “offer it in the classroom and to give the student the chance to gain research experience…and create research projects so that many professors can work together on that area.  It is truly interdisciplinary.”   
            A contract from the Air Force Office of Scientific Research has made possible an upcoming project concerning the topic of high energy density capacitor devices for energy storage.  Working on this project are three undergraduate students: Ivan Sutanto, Brandon Sammons, and Soren Sprissler - who will be aided by Dr. Pandey, Dr. Stapleton, and Dr. Tate. Equipment and labs have already been allocated for use on this project and resources are expected to grow with time.  Dr. Pandey assures “It will be a very successful program.”