Dielectrics and Electrostatics Group

This is an IOP special interest group, which is a community of IOP members focused on a particular discipline, application or area of interest. Special interest groups allow members to connect and share knowledge and ideas. The IOP funds groups to deliver a range of activities including events, prizes and bursaries. All of our groups are driven by members.

About the group

As a special interest, member-driven group, we are interested in the complete spectrum of electrodynamics and electrostatic phenomena at the heart of physics. 

There are well-defined subjects and ill-defined areas of research and technology because dielectrics and electrostatics are multi-disciplinary. 

Our membership is drawn from:

  • industrial companies
  • universities 
  • research associations

Our members in the physics community are involved in creating national and international standards. 

What the group does

Electrostatics

Electrostatics is an important group of physical phenomena, influencing the behaviour of nature on large and small scales. Examples range from atmospheric electricity, through a balloon sticking to your ceiling, and all the way down to:

  • microelectromechanical systems (MEMs)
  • biological interactions
  • interactions of molecules 

Electrostatics also has wide technological importance with processes like:

  • electrostatic liquid and powder spraying
  • pollution control with electrostatic precipitators
  • electro-reprography

Electrostatics is everywhere, from a macro scale in the atmosphere to the nanoscale in the interactions between molecules and atoms. It involves all aspects of static electricity and these include:

  • generation
  • storage
  • dissipation
  • measurement
  • uses 
  • hazards

Insulating materials

There is also a widening awareness of 'static' problems, because of the diversification of the use of insulating polymeric materials and extensive manufacture of electrically delicate electronic components like field-effect transistors and integrated circuits.

Dielectrics

Dielectrics are often thought of crudely as non-conductors or ‘insulators’. A more precise definition is given by Von Hippel: 

“Dielectrics are not a narrow class of so-called insulators, but the broad expanse of nonmetals considered from the standpoint of their interaction with electric, magnetic, of electromagnetic fields.”  

International development

We focus on international development and dissemination of dielectrics research, and application, measurement and interpretation in a wide range of non-metallic solids, liquids and gases.  

Many of our members are interested in electrical breakdown phenomena and the effects of high field electrical stress on the dielectric properties of materials. 

We are also look at the storage and dissipation of electric and magnetic energy.  Polarisation and the dynamics of electric charges are at the heart of dielectrics.  

Would you like to join this group?

Group physics prizes and competitions

Our prizes reflect the complementary interests of our members in academia and industry.

We invite nominations from:

  • the physicist
  • a supervisor
  • a member of the group

Mansel Davies Award

The Mansel Davies Award is for outstanding contributions to dielectrics by early career researchers.

The prize is up to a £100 and a certificate for the best oral or visual poster presentation. It is presented at a meeting of the Dielectrics and Electrostatics Group.

It honours the contribution of Professor Mansel Morris Davies to the Dielectrics Discussion Group (1968-74). 

Nominations

Download a nomination form and email to keith.butler@stfc.ac.uk.

The deadline for nominations is 20 October every year. 

Winners  

2015 Dielectrics

Ilana Wisby

National Physical Laboratory, Royal Holloway University London
For superconducting micro-resonators fabricated on a rare-earth ion implanted dielectric for quantum information technologies.

2014 Dielectrophoresis

Yağmur Demircan

Middle East Technical University
For Label-free multidrug resistance detection in MCF-7 cells by isolated 3D-electrode dielectrophoresis

John Chubb Award

The John Chubb Award is for outstanding contributions to experimental electrostatics by early career researchers.

The prize is up to a £100 and a certificate for the best oral or visual poster presentation. It is presented at a meeting of the Dielectrics and Electrostatics Group.

It honours the contributions of Dr John Norman Chubb to the study and understanding of electrostatics. 

Nominations

Download a nomination form and email to keith.butler@stfc.ac.uk.

The deadline for nominations is 20 October every year

Annual conference and physics events 

We run the International Conference on Electrostatics every four years. Register and find out what’s on at Electrostatics 2019  in Manchester this April.

We have several one day conferences and meetings, and major conferences. 

We organise meetings with other Institute groups that include the:

  • Biological Physics Group
  • Environmental Physics Group
  • Ion and Plasma Surface Interactions Group
  • Polymer Physics Group

Find group events on our events portal.

Committee and contacts 



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