This book looks at some concepts leading to a basic understanding of ferroelectricity. Depending on their geometry, crystals are commonly classified into seven systems: triclinic (the least symmetrical), monoclinic, orthorhombic, tetragonal, trigonal, hexagonal, and cubic. These systems can again be subdivided into point groups (crystal classes) according to their symmetry with respect to a point. There are 32 such crystal classes and 11 of them possess a centre of symmetry. Twenty of the 21 non-centric crystal classes exhibit electrical polarity when subjected to stress. The effect (and also its converse, the production of strain by application of an electric field) is linear, with reversal of the stimulus resulting in a reversal of the response, and is termed the piezoelectric effect. Topics in this book include statistical theory, soft modes, phase transitions, macroscopics and phenomenology, thermodynamics, structural crystallography, order-disorder ferroelectrics, nonlinear optics, and applications of ferroelectrics.
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