Ferroelectric Electron and Ion Generator for Small Applications

Tech ID: 21694 / UC Case 2004-127-0


UCLA researchers in the Department of Physics and Chemistry & Biochemistry have developed a novel method of generating high-power electron and ion beams using ferroelectric energy transduction.


High energy electron and ion beams are essential in charged particle microscopy, with a wide range of applications in the physical and life sciences and a market of over $2.3 billion in 2018. Specialized beams and equipment have been developed, but many are large, may require radioactivity, and can only carry out one type of analysis at once. Novel methods of generating high energy electron and ion beams on a small scale will have applications in a variety of characterization techniques.


Professor Putterman and coworkers have developed a novel method of generating localized high energy electron and ion beams using ferroelectric energy transduction. Ferroelectric, pyroelectric, and piezoelectric crystals emit high energy (>100 KeV) electron and ion beams upon heating or application of external electromagnetic/acoustic fields. The beam may be modulated for different analysis methods or may combine analysis methods. For instance, a single piezoelectric tip may be used for scanning probe microscopy and x-ray fluorescence, combining chemical and elemental analysis.


  • Pulsed neutron generation 
  • Therapeutic X-ray/electron device 
  • Elemental/chemical analysis 
  • Electron microscopy (SEM, TEM) 
  • Compact ion beam/positron source 
  • Microthrusters for ion engines


  • Small size and low power requirements 
  • Possibility to use USB power in some cases 
  • Dual chemical and elemental analysis

State Of Development

Detectors have been built and used in preliminary experiments.

Related Materials

Patent Status

Country Type Number Dated Case
United States Of America Issued Patent 7,741,615 06/22/2010 2004-127


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  • Putterman, Seth J.

Other Information


electron microscopy, charged particle microscopy, SEM, TEM, ferroelectric

Categorized As

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