Myths and mines

Prerequisites for a treasure hunt, old style.

Put down the whip and hat. Move over Indiana Jones. Its time for a new style of explorer.  

Gone are the days of dusty maps and mythical golden cities, these days the chances of finding gold, and other resources, requires a more scientific approach.

Geologists around the world are using microscopes and heating stages to explore the subterranean world of our planet and find its buried riches.

Using a THMSG600 Linkam stage, scientists at the Department of Physics and Earth Science from the University of Parma are investigating gold deposits from the Lepaguare valley mining district in Honduras. 

The Lepaguare is a mining district that hosts several precious metal vein deposits. These deposits mainly consist of gold and sulphide and are found alongside thick quartz veins within pre-Mesozoic metamorphic rocks. Inside the veins, the quartz crystals are rich in fluid inclusions (FI) which can be studied to provide an understanding of the history of the gold deposits.       

We don't expect to see a THMSG600 in the next Indiana Jones movie, but we live in hope.

By Caroline Feltham

At the sharp end

You swallow a pill and you expect it to work.

The most common method of administering medicine

However, orally delivered drugs have many obstructions: they have to withstand stomach acid, pass across intestinal cell membranes, avoid destruction in the liver, and are affected by the presence of food and/or other medicines.

But oral medicines are economical, convenient, you don't (usually) need someone else to help you take them, you can accurately monitor your own dose, and don't need any special equipment (no scary needles).

While oral administration is the most common there is also parenteral administration by intravenous, intramuscular and subcutaneous injections.

The parenteral method is prefferable as it is more efficient, but it is costly - both in the development and the administration. At the moment only a few medicines, such as insulin, are delivered this way.

Dr. Jingjing Liu from the Institute for Particle Science and Engineering at University of Leeds has looked at ways of reducing the cost of production of protein crystals that are a part of protein-based medicines - which are usually administered by injection. Historically, medicine manufacturers have faced challenges growing crystals on an industrial scale as they require specific complex nutrient solutions.  

Dr Liu is using the Linkam LTS350 stage in his research on the growth behaviour of multiple crystals of hen egg white lysozyme. He said: “One of the advantages of the Linkam stage is that larger volumes of liquid can be used which in turn generate more crystals.”

This research is fundamental to further understanding the behaviour of crystal growth in a population and provides crucial information for the design, optimization and control of industrial-scale protein crystallization.

Scaling up this vital research is the first step to competing with pill-based medicine.

Weekend Warriors

Last weekend, two brave Linkam staff members joined a cycling revolution. Over two days they cycled 180 miles around the perimeter of London taking in such famous sights as Tower Bridge, Windsor Castle and some of the locations for the forthcoming London Olympics. The inaugural London Revolution event had 1,400 participants, an overnight party and gave riders the opportunity to cycle legendary Olympic courses including the Herne Hill Velodrome and Box Hill.

The riders were competing in aid of Bowel Cancer research and have raised over £300 for this great charity. You can donate here

Jim and Ray riding the London Revolution 2012

What an amazing way to spend a weekend.

By Caroline Feltham

 

Flares of Enterprise

A few weeks ago newspapers were flooded with images of the sun emitting a huge solar flare. How huge? Well, take a look at a short video here

Imagine harnessing that energy.

Size comparison of the solar flare compared to earth. Don't worry, in reality we are not that close.

Solar power often faces criticism as an alternative energy due to its low conversion efficiency, but this doesn't necessarily limit its value. A scienitist called Matthias Loster has produced a solar power map of the world here showing how we don't have to cover the whole earth with ugly solar panels to make every other source of energy obsolete. In fact, the panels just need to be positioned in the sunniest spots on earth.

Solar power truly is a great answer to our power needs. Yes, there are costs involved and solar technologies do still need a lot of work, but to change something from an idea to a usauble product you need to take action.

Some scientists at the Cohen lab at the University of Oregon are doing just this and are aiming to create inexpensive, efficient, thin film solar cells. D.W.Miller, a Graduate Research Fellow with the group, said: "Most of our experiments are built to work on a functioning solar cell".

Using a Linkam LTS350-W-PB4 stage they can take advantage of how a photovoltaic device works to study fundamental properties of the components of the solar device. In order to do their experiment they had to modify the Linkam stage by building an additional contacting system comprising a series of spring loaded flexible steel rod arms with gold pogos at the end. This enterprising set-up gives them a firm, stable electrical contact with their sample at all temperatures.

When asked about the benefits of the Linkam stage, D.W.Miller added: "There are tons. They are  more reliable, they sweep temperature more rapidly and stabilize more quickly at temperature, they provide easier access to the sample, are sturdier and more efficient".

Its always fascinating to find out how our customers use our stages, but in this case it is extra special to see how our original design has been a source of innovation and creation, and is now helping a very industrious group of scientists work towards solving the energy problems of tommorrow.

by Caroline Feltham

 

The other banking crisis

Sometimes the British are seen as reluctant to talk about intimate matters. The ABA, or Association of Biomedical Andrologists, is one organisation that smashes this stereotype.

As a representative of Linkam I was invited to their AGM meeting and conference last week where dozens of scientists met to talk male fertility. 

Key speaker Dr Allan Pacey, Senior Lecturer in Andrology at the University of Sheffield, spoke about the growing 'banking' crisis. Men facing treatment, such as chemotherapy, are encoraged to store sperm samples in the event that treatment leads to infertility. One consequence of this is that samples are stored in sperm banks indefinitely, as these men are treated, and on some occasions cease contact with the fertility clinic. This leads to an ever growing number of samples which cannot be destroyed without consent.

Dr Allan Pacey addresses the ABA audience

Dr Pacey cited an example of a man in his thirties who had been treated for cancer as a teenager and had banked his sperm before treatment. Nearly twenty years later he has fathered a child after re-establishing contact with the clinic. It is stories like this that help to put a human face on the issue of long term sperm banking and is a poignant reminder that each sample represents a family's future.

Sperm banks provide reassurance for men facing infertility

The Association of Biomedical Andrologists (ABA) is a professional body of Andrology experts providing training and support for their members. The ABA also works towards the regulation of the profession; one of its recommendations is the use of heated stages for all semen analysis. Linkam manufactures a wide range of warm stages specifically for andrology.  

I would like to thank the ABA for such a warm welcome, and a great introduction to their field. We, at Linkam, look forward to working with the ABA on future projects.

By Caroline Feltham

Exploring Vulcan’s Forge

Graduate scientist Vittorio Zanon, from the University of Perugia, has been examining the explosive past of Vulcan’s forge. Contrary to the belief of Trekologists, Vulcan’s Forge is not a canyon on the planet Vulcan.

Vulcan's Forge, the mythical site of the forge of the Roman god Vulcan, can be found on the island of Vulcano, in Italy. This island in the Aeolian archipelago was formed from an active volcano and it is from here we get the word volcano.

Vulcan's Forge: part of Italy's explosive past

The primary objectives of volcanology are to explore the internal structure of active volcanoes and understand their behaviour. Zanon and the team used a Linkam THMS600 heating stage to learn about the journey of the magma from the centre of the earth to the surface and studied nearly 800 samples of erupted material. The team could then learn about the depth, composition and residence time of magma at these different depths in the earth - crucial for monitoring strategies and forecasting eruptions.

Scientists are trying to understand why the magma sometimes halts in reservoirs beneath the surface during its upward journey - prior to eruption - and how the magma behaves while it's there.

With a better understanding how volcanoes work, scientists have a better chance of predicting future eruptions.

Linkam would like to thank Vittorio Zanon for telling us about his fascinating research.    

By Caroline Feltham

Evolution of a Swedish Bird

Researchers are trying to explain the origin of two species of bird on the Swedish Island of Öland. Understanding how a new species evolves is still somewhat of a mystery because it's an immensely slow process and takes place over thousands of years. Despite these limitations scientists are able to study fully formed, closely related species, such as these birds, and try to infer how they evolved.

The gametes of two species of bird: the Collared Flycatcher and Pied Flycatcher are being studied by researchers from the Evolutionary Biology Centre, in Uppsala, using a Linkam TH60-6 warm stage. These two species started to diverge approximately 2 million years ago.

The aim is to learn about how gametes diverge between species. The scientists think a mechanism has evolved to allow the breeding adults to better recognize a member of their own species, however the birds sometimes cross-breed. The resulting hybrid young have reduced fertility; an explanation of this is that the gametes have diverged.

One aspect of the study is to look at the characteristics of the ejaculates of both species, and hybrid males.

TH60-6 Linkam warm stage, and friend, at the Evolutionary Biology Centre

Researcher Murielle Podevin commented: “The warm stage is essential for my work since I need my samples to be kept at 40 degrees exactly so that there is no variation between samples.”

This ongoing research has cross-species implications, and helps scientists understand how other species may have developed. We look forward to finding out more about Murielle’s conclusions. 

By Caroline Feltham

Size Matters

At the University of Montpellier 2, the Colloidal Metallurgy team are designing a system to understand the properties of colloidal polycrystals. The aim is to relate the macroscopic mechanical properties to the microscopic texture of the polycrystal. The team will use a combination of experimental techniques, including optical microscopy and rheology

 CSS450 Linkam stage in the apparatus.

The developed colloidal polycrystal model is made up of micelles formed from a commercial molecule: Pluronic F108 block copolymer. At high concentration these micelles self-assemble to form a crystalline phase. Micelles are therefore the equivalent of atoms in an atomic crystal, except that they are two orders of magnitude larger.

The team of researchers is working with a Linkam CSS450 stage to measure the mechanical properties of the crystal. They are able to collect information on the local dynamics of the crystallite organization under an applied shear strain. Using this stage allows the team to visualise their experiments in real-time.   

By varying the crystallization rate and crystallites size, the team expects to explain the different microscopic mechanisms at work.

The city of Montpellier is situated in the south of France, and is home to three independent Universities each with the name Montpellier. The University of Montpellier 2 excells in science.

Research at the University is ongoing and we look forward to more updates.

 

By Caroline Feltham

The CCR1000 is used as a mini-reactor (in-situ Raman cell) at the University of South Carolina to study heterogeneous catalysis.

The University of South Carolina was founded in 1805. It originated in one building and over the years has grown to have over 200,000 living alumni. These include the band Hootie and the Blowfish, Grammy award-winning musicians, and Tonique Williams-Darling, 400-meter Olympic gold medallist for her native Bahamas in the 2004 Games.

The university’s research initiatives in nanotechnology, health sciences, Future Fuels™, the environment, and information technologies have helped make it one of only 63 public universities listed by the Carnegie Foundation in the highest tier of research institutions in the United States.

Graduate student, Artem Vityuk and his colleagues are using Raman spectroscopy to study oxidation of CO over rhodium based catalysts in the Linkam CCR1000 cell. 

CCR1000 Linkam stage in the lab at the University of South CarolinaSamples are loaded into the CCR1000 in a nitrogen filled glove box as the catalysts are air and water sensitive materials. During the experiment a CO/O2/He mixture flows through the reactor cell. Catalysis by "single site" catalysts is of particular interest to the researchers as at this scale catalyst properties change drastically which often results in enhanced catalytic activity.

At the moment they are still on the trial and error phase but I look forward to hearing more about their experiments in the future.

By Caroline Feltham

Atmospheric and vacuum frying miniaturization using the THMS350V heating vacuum stage at the Pontifical Catholic University of Chile

At Linkam we love our food (perhaps a little too much!) That is why we were very excited to find out about how our stage is being used at the Pontifical Catholic University of Chile.

Founded in 1888 at the behest of the Archbishop of Santiago, Monsignor Mariano Casanova, the Pontifical Catholic University of Chile is one of the top Universities in South America. Created to instill academic excellence it was at  the School of Business and Administration Sebastián Piñera, the current Chilean president was educated.

At the UC a research team, headed by Pedro Bouchon PhD in the Chemical and Bioprocess Engineering Department are using a Linkam THMS350V stage to examine atmospheric and vacuum frying of starch granules in oil and water.

The Linkam THMS350V is mounted on an Olympus BX-61 light microscope

To see the experiment please watch this video

Micro-structural changes are indicated by swelling and gelatinization of potato starch granules during heating, where swelling starts at 64°C. The goal is to understand the role of different ingredients when they are processed under different conditions, and the impact that these processed ingredients have on nutrition. The eventual aim is to develop low fat snack products that also taste as good as the traditional ones. Heating-vacuum microscopy is an essential technique in beginning to understand the complex process of vacuum frying, a technique which may lead to innovative ways to prepare our food. For more information about their experiment please see press release.  

By Caroline Feltham

“Application of the Linkam TS1400XY heating stage to MI studies” published in the Central European Journal of Geosciences by the team at Virginia Tech

Melt inclusions (MI) trapped in igneous phenocrysts provide one of the best tools available for characterizing magmatic processes. For example some MI experience post-entrapment modifications and to return the MI to its original state laboratory heating may be required. This is followed by rapid quenching to produce a homogeneous glass phase so that microanalysis can be undertaken.


In their paper “Application of the Linkam TS1400XY heating stage to MI studies” published in the Central European Journal of Geosciences, the team at Virgiania Tech including Esposito.R , Klebesz.R, Bartoli.O, Klyukin.Y.I, Moncada.D. & Doherty.A.L, and Bodnar.R.J. describe a series of heating experiments that have been performed on crystallized MI using the Linkam TS1400 heating stage. The TS1400 stage has a ceramic heater that completely encases the sample in a uniform temperature controlled environment enabling high accuracy control up to 1400°C within a gas sealed chamber. A special manipulator enables rapid transfer from the heater to a colder platform for ultra fast cooling rates of up to 240°C per second.

The Linkam TS1400 StageThese tests demonstrate the applicability of the Linkam TS1400 stage to heat and quench the MI to produce homogeneous glasses that can be analyzed with various techniques such as Electron Microprobe (EMP), Secondary Ion Mass Spectrometry (SIMS), Laser ablation Inductively Coupled Plasma Mass Spectrometry (LA ICP-MS), Raman spectroscopy, and FTIR spectroscopy.

Linkam would like to say a big thank you to Robert Bodnar and his team for all their help over this year.

by Caroline Feltham

Linkam temperature controlled warm stages chosen as a reliable temperature control solution for the assessment of sperm motility in human fertility testing.

Andrology from the Greek Andros “man” is the medical field that focuses on male health, in particular infertility.

In the NHS Grampian Fertility Centre a Linkam THL60-16 is being used when assessing sperm motility. A standard 10 µl volume of sample is placed onto a clean glass slide and a 22x22mm coverslip is placed on top. The weight of the cover slip spreads the sample to allow the correct depth to be achieved for evaluating sperm motility. The slide is examined as soon as the sample stops drifting. A phase contrast microscope is used to observe the sample at x400 magnification to assess motility.

Human sperm viewed under phase contrast to view motilityApproximately 200 spermatozoa per count are assessed for motility. Spermatozoa can be classified as progressively motile, non-progressively motile or non-motile. The percentage of progressively motile sperm is important to fertility assessment. A man is considered sub-fertile if his sperm count is below the reference values. About 25% of couples of reproductive age are affected by fertility problems, with around 35% of men sub-fertile and 2% infertile. Sperm motility is temperature dependent and in order to assess in vivo fertility assessments should be carried out at 37°C.

Using the warm stage samples can be kept at 37°C while being observed. The warming plate is incredibly thin and a platinum resistor temperature sensor is used for higher accuracy and stability than the more commonly used thermocouple. It is great to know Linkam stages have won the confidence and reliance of so many NHS labs.

TAC2012 at the University of Nottingham 3-4 April 2012

On the 3-4 April this year, the TAC2012 will be hosted by the University of Nottingham on behalf of the Thermal Methods Group. The conference will be in the Department of Food Sciences building which was opened in 1997 at the rural Sutton Bonington Campus which offers an attractive and relaxing setting for the conference.

Food Sciences Building, University of NottinghamThe TMG committee is now asking for paper/poster contributions. The committee wishes to encourage early career scientists (especially PhD students) to contribute. With this in mind, there will be a Cyril Keattch early career scientist competition. There is also a theory based thermal analysis training session covering basic principles of DSC, DTA, and TGA on Monday 2nd April.

The TMG is affiliated to the International Confederation for Thermal Analysis and Calorimetry (ICTAC) and collaborates closely with the European thermal analysis groups. The main objective of the group is to promote awareness of all thermo analytical, calorimetric and related thermal techniques by a range of activities, including a regular programme of scientific meetings and publications.

For further details please see the TMG website

Linkam will be attending this event. Hope to see you there!

By Caroline Feltham

Freeze Drying Characterisation at the University of Iowa

Founded in 1905, the University of Iowa Pharmaceuticals (UIP) began when the Iowa College of Pharmacy started to dispense medications to the University’s Hospital, and since then has grown to be the largest and most experienced FDA affiliated pharmaceutical University in the USA. Since 1974 UIP has been producing cGMP compliant materials for client organisations. UIP’s very first client was the National Cancer Institute and now lists among its client’s government agencies, Centres for Disease Control, the WHO, the National Institutes of Health, and the FDA.   

At the UIP, Professor Lee Kirsch’s group is using integrated Lyostat 2 and Lyotherm 2 units to study formulation, collapse and melting of client formulations. The Lyostat 2 is a freeze-drying microscope which incorporates a Linkam FDCS196 stage, controller and liquid nitrogen cooling system. The Lyotherm 2 enables a scientist to achieve a more complete picture of events than conventional thermal analysis as it allows a scientist to perform two analyses at the same time, providing a Differential Thermal Analyser (DTA) and Electrical Impedance capability (Zsinϕ) in a single unit.

 

The Lyostat 2 system incorporating the Linkam cryo stage is used at UIP (University of Iowa Pharmaceuticals)

The combination of the Lyostat 2 and Lyotherm 2 instruments allows the team to investigate critical temperatures of client’s formulations efficiently and easily. This can significantly reduce the time in the lab required to establish these temperatures and so reduce the overall cost of formulation of a new drug, a benefit to both the pharmaceutical company and eventually the consumer. This also means new drugs may be able to be brought to the market quicker, improving the health care available for patients worldwide.

The unparalleled temperature control of the Linkam temperature stage has enabled a practical solution to a difficult problem in freeze drying formulations.

The Linkam Christmas Party

On the 9th December Linkam celebrated Christmas at Denbies Wine Estate, a local winery in Dorking, Surrey. It was an excellent evening including a three course dinner, dance and of course lots of wine.

Surrey has a rich history and archaeologists are continuously pulling artefacts out of the earth, so it should be no surprise to find out that Denbies Wine Estate is over 300 years old and is planted less than 350 yards from the site of a Roman vineyard dating from 100AD.

The 265 acres of vineyards is three times the size of any other in Britain, has won the world’s best Rosé in 2011 and produces 10% of Britain’s wine. What a great location for a party.  

In the summer, the conservatory atrium - where we had dinner- is opened up to the sky, is full of flowers and hosts holistic fairs and oriental dance. For our evening, it was beautifully transformed with Christmas lights, ivy and tinsel.

Denbies Atrium

The evening was extremely enjoyable with a great atmosphere. The staff were remarkably efficient and organised considering there were over 200 guests. All in all, it was a great night and I’m looking forward to the next one.  

By Caroline Feltham

Some Christmas viewing... courtesy of SP Scientific and Linkam.

SP Scientific, a synergistic  group of four leading scientific equipment brands is hosting some free lyophilisation seminars.  As a company that strives for superior qulity and service: something very close to our hearts at Linkam we anticipate these seminars will be both entertaining and enlightening. As part of the audience you will have the opportunity to talk to leading scientists in the field and ask all your awkward questions.

Older seminars can be viewed in the archive while the next instalment is on the 24/1/12 at either 7am or 12 noon NY time.  In this one entitled “freeze-drying of human red blood cells” Dr Kevin Ward, PhD from Biopharma Technology Ltd, will be talking about blood preservation and refrigeration. This is a crucial topic as blood cells preserved by refrigeration only survive 35-42 days. Drying cells, so that they maintain both structure and the capacity to carry blood is a tough challenge. Past seminars have included a talk by our very good friend  Ruben J Nieblas from McCrone Microscopes on “'The practical application of freeze drying microscopy in product thermal characterisation'.

Ruben Nieblas

In January Dr Kevin Ward will be talking in detail about his findings and experiments and it is certainly going to be worth the wait, so book it in your diary and check out the prior webinars. I have certainly have...

Posted by Caroline Feltham

 

Its all getting rather hairy at Linkam this month…

First there was November. Now there is Movember. The one month in the year where men across the UK, and the world proudly adapt their daily routine and instead grow a moustache as a physical reminder of men’s health issues. Thanks to events like the “tickled pink” campaign female cancers are widely known and always in press. Less attention is given to male prostate and testicular cancer which is one of the biggest killers in the UK. In 2009 nearly eleven and half thousand women in UK died of breast cancer. In the same year nearly ten and half thousand men in the UK died of prostate cancer.

The team at the start of the monthOver the month of Movember men are sponsored to grow a moustache and so change the “face” of men’s health. Sponsorship money goes to raising awareness and research. The Movember movement works in partnership with The Prostate Cancer Charity and the Institute of Cancer Research. This money goes directly to furthering these charities goals, namely to fund survivorship initiatives that provide information and support for those affected by prostate cancer, to publicise the health risks that men face and encourage men to seek medical help when required, improve diagnostic and prognostic tests and treatments so men are diagnosed faster and have a better prognosis, and fund critical research.

The team at Linkam Scientific were proud to join this campaign and collected nearly £400 sponsorship money. Well done guys!

 The team at the end of the month

Who gets your vote for the best moustache? Email us now at info@linkam.com

By Caroline Feltham 

The Cryo Microscopy Group (CMG) in Nottingham November 2011

On the 16th of November 2011 we attended the Cryo Microscopy Group meeting. It seemed very appropriate that the meeting was held in the Boots Science Building, School of Pharmacy, at the University of Nottingham, whose motto is “A City is Built on Wisdom”.  It was here that international speakers and forward thinkers in cryo-microscopy came to network and talk about best practice. 

We took the LTS420, THMS600 and FDCS196 heating/freezing stages along with our popular Imaging Station.  Delegates were extremely interested in the wide range of applications and unparalleled temperature control offered by Linkam products. 

Linkam Scientific Exhibition standThe atmosphere was light hearted and the number of exhibitions truly impressive. We had the great pleasure of meeting many of our existing customers and pleased to introduce our range to some new faces whilst hopefully answering all of your questions.

All in all it was a very enjoyable day (Great Cakes!) and a first for me, representing a company at an exhibition, something I hope to do again soon. I would like to say a big thank you to everyone at the meeting for being so welcoming and for making it a very enjoyable and interesting event for all of us.

by Caroline Feltham

Thermoplastic Elastomers 2011 - Brussels

 Linkam equipment on display at TPE 2011

Last week, I again delved into the world of Polymer science when I attended the 14th International Conference on Thermoplastic Elastomers (TPE's) which was held at the Sheraton Hotel in Brussels.

The main focus of the two day event was on how this innovative class of speciality engineered materials can be used in various different applications. These materials provide a hybridity between plastic processing and elastomeric functionality which has lead to an increase in market demand within the medical, industrial, electrical fields, just to name a few. The variety of applications for TPE's was highlighted by the diversity in the contents of the talks; which ranged from the use of TPE's in athletic footwear to how they can be used to reduce the cost of baby diapers.   

There was a lot of interest from the delegates in our Linkam stages and there was much intrigue in regards to the TST350 (Tensile Stress Testing Stage) and CSS450 (Optical Rheology Stage) which were being exhibited at the conference. 

It was a thoroughly enjoyable few days, not least for fantastic Belgian chocolate shop located right opposite the hotel! I would like to thank Helen and Sharon at iSmithers Rapra for their hospitality and for putting on such a great show. 

Posted by Ricky Patel

Investigating Curie point transformations in thin film piezoelectric using a HFS91-PB4 stage

The piezoelectric charge is the charge which accumulates in certain solid materials such as crystals, ceramics and biological materials and is where an applied pressure generates an electrical charge. This characteristic of materials is useful for the production and detection of sound, generation of high voltages, generation of electron frequencies, and ultrafine focusing of optical assemblies. This affect also forms the basis of scanning probe microscopy techniques.

At the RMIT University in Melbourne, Australia, Dr. Sharath Sriram and his colleagues have been investigating reversal and pinning of Curie point transformation in thin film piezoelectrics.  

HFS91-PB4 Linkam stage is used to heat and cool PSZT thin films Using an HFS91-PB4 (HFS600) Linkam stage PSZT thin films were heated to 350°C and cooled at 10°C/min in situ with real-time collection of Raman spectra. This enabled the researchers to determine two main Raman peaks for the film at room temperature, ~575 and ~ 744cm¯¹ ( at which point the film had a rhombohedral structure). Controlled heating and cooling of the thin film causes peaks and intensity changes at the Curie point. This is indicative of a phase change occurring at the Curie point, where the film changes from a rhombohedral arrangement to a symmetrical cubic arrangement. This phase change coincides with loss of piezoelectric charge and piezoelectrical structure. With controlled cooling the cubic phase reverses back to the rhombohedral phase with minimum hysteresis, and piezoelectrical potential. 

The HFS91-PB4 stage in the RMIT Laboratory

This Curie point transformation from cubic to rhombohedral can be disrupted by uncontrolled cooling, which results in locking in place the peak positions and intensities indicating a permanent phase change and the material remaining “locked” in the cubic phase. This shows fast cooling permanently removes the piezoelectric charge within a material.

 

Posted by Caroline Feltham