Researcher Highlight – Juliana Maier from Project F

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Juliana Maier
This time we are interviewing Juliana Maier from Project F – Room Temperature Aerosol Deposition of Lead-Free Ferroelectric Films for Energy Conversion Systems. You can find all interviews of the Researcher Highlight Series here.


 Where do you come from and how did you become a part of the IRTG program?

I grew up near Erlangen and for my bachelor, I was in the University of Bayreuth, after which I joined the FAU. My subject was material science and engineering and for my master I focused on glass, ceramics and photovoltaic materials. During my thesis in Prof. Webber´s group, he and Dr. Alexander Martin asked me if I would like to join the IRTG project. I identify with its goal to create energy conversion systems to harvest energy in an environmentally friendly way. In addition, the chance to do research also in Japan was very exciting to me. I continued my research with a PhD because there is still so much to understand and there are so many opportunities in functional materials.

 Tell us a little bit about your research.

My research topic is about the usage of lead-free ferroelectric thick films (10 µm range) created by the room temperature method aerosol deposition (AD) for the application of vibrational energy harvesting. For this, the electromechanical properties are especially important, which need to be increased in the AD films. To achieve this improvement, I conduct different types of annealing like furnace or laser annealing to induce grain growth and a release of internal stress.

 What has been an exciting finding until now?

An exciting finding is that the microstructure of AD films consists of nano-grains embedded in an amorphous matrix. This insight into the material was possible due to the collaboration with NITech and provides a potential explanation for the low piezoelectric properties of the AD films till now.

 What are your plans after graduation?

I do not have a plan yet, but I would like to keep working on topics related to sustainable energy.