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Center for Dielectrics and Piezoelectrics (CDP)

North Carolina State University

Pennsylvania State University

University of Sheffield England

Last Reviewed: 01/10/2020

The Center for Dielectrics and Piezoelectrics (CDP) provides international leadership in the fundamental science and engineering that underpin dielectric and piezoelectric materials. 

Center Mission and Rationale

The center supports industries based on capacitor and piezoelectric materials and devices through the development of new materials, processing strategies, electrical testing, and nanoscale characterization and modeling methodologies.  Our specific goals are to:

  • Serve as a leading international center dedicated to improving the science and technology of dielectric and piezoelectric materials and their integration into devices.
  • Perform innovative interdisciplinary research that will lead to novel breakthroughs in dielectric and piezoelectric materials.
  • Educate graduate students and postdoctoral scholars who will become leading members of the research community with a minimal learning curve.
  • Develop unique measurement, modeling, and characterization infrastructure to support the industry.

Innovations in the dielectric and piezoelectric industrial sectors often arise from research advances in materials chemistry, synthesis, and/or manufacturing that enable new materials and device functionality. A broad and diverse number of scientific challenges across the dielectric- and piezoelectric-based industries are addressed by research thrusts within the CDP. CDP faculty are international leaders and have unique capabilities to drive research innovations for next-generation materials and devices. Our aim is to engage companies across the supply chain, i.e. ones that manufacture dielectric and piezoelectric materials, component manufacturers and end users, who will provide the technological pull for CDP research activities.

Research program

Harnessing, Controlling and Optimizing Polarization Phenomena

The center’s research portfolio is organized into six technical thrust areas, which are unified by a common theme of harnessing, controlling and optimizing polarization phenomena for energy storage, transduction and management.  The technical thrusts are supported by unique expertise and facilities in four cross-cutting research areas as detailed below: 

Research Thrust Areas

  • Capacitors for extreme environments, to develop new dielectrics capable of handling increased voltages and operation temperatures in application areas such as automotive, power electronics, and aerospace/defense systems.
  • Miniaturized CMOS-compatible piezoelectrics actuators, high-quality factor resonators, and lead-free piezoelectric ceramics that can handle aggressive driving conditions.
  • High energy density capacitors for electric vehicles and wearable electronics.
  • Dielectrics for low-temperature and flexible substrates for foldable and stretchable electronics. 
  • Non-linear and high-frequency dielectrics for 5G communications, including quantitative high-frequency dielectric characterization new manufacturing technologies, temperature-stable high-quality factor dielectrics at high frequencies, and high-reliability integrated tunable capacitors.
  • Capacitors for Extreme Environments

Cross Cutting Areas

  • Synthesis and Processing Science
  • Nanoscale Characterization
  • Property and Reliability Characterization
  • Computational Modeling
  • Lifecycle Analysis 

Special Activities

Center members, faculty and students meet semi-annually in Raleigh at North Carolina State University and in State College at Penn State University to review center research and educational activities and future directions.  

Facilities and Laboratory

The CDP is headquartered on the NCSU Centennial Campus within Research Building I and Engineering Building I.  The Centennial Research Campus is 1000+ acre campus that supports a unique collaborative environment for corporate, governmental, and nonprofit partners. The laboratories and offices of all participating NCSU CDP faculty, the technology transfer office, and core user facilities are located on this campus.  Research Building I houses key infrastructure in oxide thin-film synthesis and electrical characterization.  Nearby, the Monteith Research Center houses the NCSU Nanofabrication Facility, a 7,400 sq. ft. cleanroom, and the NCSU Analytical Instrumentation Facility, which supports key electron microscopy, x-ray diffraction and spectroscopy characterization facilities. 

The Penn State node of the CDP is centered in the Millennium Science Complex, which houses the Nanofabrication Lab, which has unique processing capabilities for complex dielectric materials as part of the Keck Smart Materials Integration Laboratory.  These facilities allow academic and industrial users to understand issues associated with co-processing novel materials, to develop new means of patterning complex oxides, and to bring devices from a concept level to pre-production.  The CDP is also supported by the Penn State Materials Characterization Laboratory and the Materials Computation Center. 

The University of Sheffield is an international affiliate site of the CDP and is located in Sheffield, England in the Sir Robert Hadfield Building.  The University of Sheffield Department of Materials Science and Engineering is home to several successful research centres with outstanding facilities at its disposal. The centres bring together research on common themes, providing a focus for research innovation and collaboration with researchers from different departments within the University of Sheffield, forming a critical mass of expertise. Among those centers are Composite Systems Innovation Center, Center for Biomaterials and Tissue Engineering, Center for Glass Research, Functional Materials and Devices and the Sheffield NanoLab.  


North Carolina State University

911 Partners Way
Engineering Bldg 1

Raleigh, North Carolina, 27695-7907

United States

Pennsylvania State University

N220 Millenium Science Complex

University Park, Pennsylvania, 16802

United States



University of Sheffield England

Floor E, George Porter Building
North Campus Broad Lane

Sheffield, , S3 7HQ

United Kingdom