James Scott is a physicist who is acknowledged as the father of integrated ferroelectrics, in which a ferroelectric thin film and a semiconductor transistor are combined within a single computer chip. His research has answered questions pertaining to the ultimate speed and film thickness of ferroelectric memory devices — 250 picoseconds and 2.4 nanometres, respectively.
Previously, ferroelectric devices were composed of bulk ceramics and used kilovolt switching. James’s thin films brought this down to the 5-volt level of silicon logic chips. Consequently, ferroelectric memories progressed from their origins in the research laboratory to mass production for use in commercial devices such as video game consoles.
James’s book Ferroelectric Memories (2000) has been translated into both Japanese and Chinese and is the most cited text on ferroelectricity. In 2008, he was awarded the Gold Medal of the Materials Research Society and he was named as one of Thomson Reuters’ Highly Cited Researchers in 2014.