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Rick Ubic, Ph.D.

Micron School of Materials Science and Engineering
Phone: 208-426-2309 | Fax: 208-426-4466 | Office: MEC 403K
Rick Ubic


Dr. Ubic's background is in Materials Science. He obtained both his Bachelors (1993) and Masters (1994) degrees in the Department of Materials Science and Engineering at Case Western Reserve University.  He earned his PhD (1998) from the University of Sheffield, England where he stayed on for two subsequent years as a post-doctoral research associate.  He arrived as a lecturer (assistant professor) at Queen Mary, University of London at the end of 1999 and was promoted to senior lecturer (associate professor) in 2005.  In 2007 he moved to Boise State University to help lead teaching and research involving the JEOL JEM-2100 HR transmission electron microscope (TEM). He is now a professor of materials science and director of the Boise State Center for Materials Characterization (BSCMC).

Dr. Ubic has received several awards, including the 1998 Berthold Eichler Memorial Prize from G.R. Stein Refractories Ltd., the American Ceramic Society's (ACerS) 2003 Edward C. Henry Best Paper Award for his high-resolution TEM work on defect pyrochlores, the ACerS 2004 Robert L. Coble Award for Young Scholars for his "contributions relating crystallography to the behavior of dielectric properties in complex compounds," and the 2006 Edgar Andrews Best Journal Article Prize for his work on the structure of a perovskite superlattice. In 2017 he was the recipient of Boise State's highest honor for research, the Foundation Scholar Award.

Dr. Ubic is a member of the Electron Microscopy and Analysis Group of the Institute of Physics. He also serves the American Ceramic Society as chair-elect of the Electronics Division, chair of the Subcommittee on the Spriggs Phase Equilibria Award, and member of the Publications Committee. He has also been Editor-in-Chief of Materials Research Bulletin since 2014.


Microwave Dielectric Resonators

On 3 April 1973, Martin Cooper, an executive at the fledgling Motorola company, stood on a street corner in Manhattan and tested his invention by calling rival AT&T to announce his breakthrough. In 1978, the world’s first experimental analogue mobile phone service was developed in the USA. Of course, the earliest mobiles were analogue, weighed almost 1.4 kg, had a battery life of less than a day, and sold for several thousand dollars. Eventually, phones shrank and evolved into what we see today. WAP phones were introduced in 1999, and the first camera phone entered the market in 2000. In 1996 only about 14% of Americans owned mobile phones. Today, there are more mobile phone subscriptions in the USA than there are people, and the latest generation phones weigh as little as 114g and offer features like Internet and TV access.

Worldwide there are currently about 4.1 billion mobile phone users, making the cellular phone the fastest-selling consumer item in history. The mobile phone is the most widely-spread technology on the planet. There are three times as many mobile phones than PCs of any kind in the world and more mobile phones than cars. There are over twice as many mobile phone users as internet users, and more mobile phone users than people with a credit card. Twice as many people use SMS text messaging worldwide than use e-mail, with 75,000 messages sent every second in the USA!

Microwave resonators are used extensively in telecommunications equipment, including cellular telephones and satellite links, and are at the heart of this multi-billion dollar market. Oxide ceramics are critical elements in these devices, and a full understanding of the crystal chemistry of such materials is paramount to future development.

What is a Dielectric Resonator? What Properties are Important in Dielectric Resonators? What are Dielectric Resonators used for? Download Software

Solid Oxide Fuel Cells (SOFCs)

Unlike the alkaline fuel cells which powered the Apollo spacecraft to the moon, solid-oxide fuel cells (SOFCs) have no electrolyte management problems and can generate power at 50 to 60 percent efficiency - far surpassing technologies like gas turbines, internal combustion engines, and steam turbines. Increasing the ionic conductivity of ceramic electrolytes is likely to be critical to the future development of SOFCs. Materials with a significant degree of crystallographic disorder are good candidates for such applications and may become part of future energy solutions.

Areas Of Interest