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electroceramics

category of advanced ceramic materials that are employed in a wide variety of electric, optical, and magnetic applications. In contrast to traditional ceramic products such as brick and tile, which have been produced in various forms for thousands of years, electroceramics are a relatively recent phenomenon, having been developed largely since World War II. During their brief history, however, they have had a profound impact on the so-called electronics revolution and on the quality of life in developed nations. Electroceramics that have low dielectric constants (i.e., low electric resistivity) are made into substrates for integrated circuits, while electroceramics with high dielectric constants are used in capacitors. Other electroceramic materials exhibit piezoelectricity (the development of strain under an applied field, or vice versa) and are employed in transducers for microphones and other products, while some possess good magnetic properties and are suitable for transformer cores or permanent magnets. Some electroceramics exhibit optical phenomena, such as luminescence (useful in fluorescent lighting) and lasing (exploited in lasers), and still others exhibit changes in optical properties with the application of electric fields and are therefore used extensively as modulators, demodulators, and switches in optical communications.

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Encyclopedia Britannica, 2008. Encyclopedia Britannica Online.
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