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AAMU Physicists 'Write the Book' on Pyroelectrics

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Huntsville, Ala. ---- People who know such things claim that pyroelectric materials are part of our everyday lives, from intrusion detectors to other useful devices.


Two Alabama A&M University professors, however, have taken their thorough knowledge and infinite research on the subject a step further in their recently published, comprehensive book released September 2013.  Drs. Ashok K. Batra and Mohan Aggarwal are the masterminds behind the nearly 200-page Pyroelectric Materials: Infrared Detectors, Particle Accelerators, and Energy Harvesters. 


A three-year labor of love published by the International Society of Optics and photonics (SPIE), the publication covers fundamentals, applications and the latest research in the field of pyroelectric devices. 


Because committed researchers like Batra and Aggarwal are the impetus behind the development of products that make humans more comfortable in their environment, research in pyroelectric materials ultimately has led to a range of new technologies.  A few of these include sensing and imaging to detect vascular problems and arthritis, as well as even playing a role in the diagnosis of breast cancer. 


Yet for all of the positive derivatives of pyroelectric research, Batra and Aggarwal must often deal with the less-glamorous complexities of dielectric parameters, electrostrictive effects, piezoelectric and pyroelectric phenomena and a plethora of details related to processing, particle generation and energy harvesting. 


Nonetheless, their success in juggling every aspect of pyroelectric materials, and its related diagrams, is captured in their new book. This is the only book available which describes three latest applications of these materials such as infrared detectors, particle accelerators and energy harvesting.


“These scholars have significantly contributed to the advancement of knowledge of pyroelectric materials,” commented AAMU President Andrew Hugine, Jr., who penned the book's forward.  “We are fortunate to have their expertise and are grateful that they have been able to devote extra time and effort toward the preparation of this important contribution to pyroelectric literature.”


Throughout his research career, chief author Batra has attracted funding from both the Department of Homeland Security and the National Science Foundation.  Professor Aggarwal has secured more than $2.5 million in research funds to study triboluminescent materials.   Batra and Aggarwal say their work will especially appeal to physicists, engineers, other scientists and graduate students at universities nationally, all of whom might appreciate the detail added to the subject of energy harvesting. For more details about the book, please visit the website;


For additional information, contact Dr. Batra at or Dr. Aggarwal at

by Jerome Saintjones


Caption:  (l-r) Aggarwal and Batra

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