Montana State University
Academics | Administration | Admissions | A-Z Index | Directories

Montana State Universityspacer Mountains and Minds
MSU AcademicsspacerMSU AdministrationspacerMSU AdmissionsspacerMSU A-Z IndexspacerMSU Directoriesspacer

Contact Us
Montana State University

Director: Lee Spangler

Assistant to the Director: Michelle Leonti

Tel: (406) 994-1658
Fax: (406) 994-2893
> Research, Creativity and Technology Transfer  > HiTEC
V. Hugo Schmidt

Professor Emeritus
Department of Physics


Phone: 406-994-6173


Hugo Schmidt

V. Hugo Schmidt received his B.S. degree in Mechanical Engineering from Washington State University and his Ph.D. in Physics from the University of Washington. He spent two years in the Air Force at Wright-Patterson AFB developing rocket strike cameras. Before starting his graduate work, he also did mechanical design on ground control approach equipment at Gilfillan Bros. in Los Angeles for one year. During his graduate work and the summer after, he worked at Boeing on radiation effects in semiconductors for two years.

Dr. Schmidt’s Ph.D. work involved a nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) and electrical conductivity study of the ferroelectric crystal KD2PO4. This work and a subsequent coulombetric study of KH2PO4 established that the electrical conductivity in these crystals is due to hydrogen ions. He continued such studies of hydrogen-bonded ferroelectrics in his first teaching position at Valparaiso University in Indiana. After three years there, he came to the Montana State University physics department, where he has been ever since, except for three sabbatical leaves at the ETH in Zurich, Sandia Labs, the University Fourier in Grenoble, and the Stefan Institute in Ljubljana. While at Sandia he investigated magnetic properties of rare-earth intermetallic compounds and of synthetic garnets by NMR, and continued the latter work at MSU.

In addition to the hydrogen-bonded ferroelectrics, he investigated piezoelectric and ferroelectric polymers in the poly(vinylidene fluoride) (PVDF) family by NMR, and also worked on applications of these polymers for generating electricity and for actuators.  One of the actuator projects allowed MSU undergraduates to fly on the NASA “Weightless Wonder” KC-135 at Ellington Field near Houston in three successive years.

More recently, his work has extended to other piezoelectric crystals, such as KTiOPO4 which has nearly one-dimensional K+ ion conduction and which has second harmonic generation applications, and on Pb(Mg1/3Nb2/3)1-xTixO3 and related crystals whose excellent piezoelectric properties have military and medical applications.

For the last five years, Dr. Schmidt has been engaged in research on solid oxide fuel cells. This DOE-funded work supports a team of two Research Scientists, one research associate, one graduate research assistant and one undergraduate. The emphasis is on producing and characterizing ceramics for solid oxide fuel cell cathode, anode and proton-conducting solid electrolyte materials and hydrogen permeation membranes. The electrolyte ceramics currently under study are in the yttria-doped Ba(Ce,Zr)O3 system. Characterization methods include impedance spectroscopy and gas chromatography. Apparatus to test hydrogen permeation membranes and to measure fuel and exhaust gas flow in anodes is being constructed. Theoretical analysis efforts are on analyzing proton conduction in these materials, on more accurate methods of analyzing gas flow and on predicting the activation polarization, concentration polarization and ohmic polarization contributions to the shape of the voltage vs. current curves for cells operating both in the fuel cell and the steam electrolyzer modes.

HiTEC Research in Prof. V. Hugo Schmidt’s group

Research and Development of Hydrogen Separation Membranes
Directed by Prof. V. Hugo Schmidt and Dr. Jiaping Han

This work is to develop hydrogen separation membranes that can separate hydrogen from high-temperature, high-pressure mixed gases, such as coal gases in the FutureGen project. The main work includes synthesis, processing, and characterization of proton conducting ceramics, proton conducting ceramic/metal composites, and proton conducting ceramic/electronic conducting ceramic composites for hydrogen separation membranes; investigation of the sintering of dense membranes on porous substrates; and testing of hydrogen permeation of the membranes at high temperatures.

Research and Development of Proton Conducting Based SOFCs
Directed by Prof. V. Hugo Schmidt and Dr. Jiaping Han

This work is to develop proton conducting materials for intermediate-temperature proton conducting based SOFCs, including synthesis, processing, and characterization of proton conducting ceramics for electrolytes, proton conducting ceramic/electronic conducting ceramic composites for cathodes, and proton conducting ceramic/metal composites for anodes. Typical proton conducting ceramics studied are doped BaCeO3 and doped BaZrO3. Other proton conducting material systems are investigated as well. In addition, we will also develop a variety of other applications based on proton conducting ceramics, such as hydrogen pumps, hydrogen sensors, and steam electrolyzers.

Measurement and Analysis of SOFC Anode Gas Flow and Tortuosity
Directed by Prof. V. Hugo Schmidt and Dr. Jiaping Han

This work performs an integrated experimental and theoretical approach to measure and analyze SOFC anode gas flow and tortuosity for various anode structures. The work will help the design of more effective microstructurally engineered electrodes in SOFCs, steam electrolyzers, gas separation membranes, and other high-temperature electrochemical systems. The approach includes theoretical analysis of gas flow equations under SOFC conditions, the construction of a dual opposing flow test apparatus to determine actual diffusivities of counter flowing gases from which tortuosity can be estimated, the application of a new method, magnetic resonance microscopy, to directly measure tortuosity and in-situ interactions of diffusing gases.

Selected Publications

  • “Anomalous and Normal Protonic Conductivity in Cs1-x(NH4)xH2PO4, Cs1 x(ND4)xD2PO4, and K1 x(NH4)xH2PO4,” V.H. Schmidt, S. Lanceros-Méndez, S. Meschia, and N. J. Pinto, Solid State Ionics 125, 147-157 (1999).
  • “Phase Coexistence in Proton Glass,” V. H. Schmidt, J. Korean Phys. Soc. 32, S803-S806 (1998). (Text of invited talk at 9th International Meeting on Ferroelectricity, Seoul, Aug. 1997.)
  • "Monte Carlo stochastic-dynamics study of dielectric response and nonergodicity in proton glass," A. Sinitski and V.H. Schmidt, Phys. Rev. B 54, 842-848 (1996).
  • "Normal-distortion-mode approach to liquid-crystal elastic energy," V.H. Schmidt, Phys. Rev. Lett. 64, 535-538 (1990).
  • "Conductivity across random barrier distribution as origin of large low-frequency dielectric peak in perovskite crystals and ceramics," V.H. Schmidt, G.F. Tuthill, C.-S. Tu, T.V. Schogoleva, and S.C. Meschia, J. Phys. Chem. Solids 57, 1493-1497 (1996).
  • “Electric-field effects of dielectric and optical properties in Pb(Mg1/3Nb2/3)0.65Ti0.35O3 crystal,” C.-S. Tu, F.-T. Wang, R.R. Chien, V.H. Schmidt, and G.F. Tuthill, J. Appl. Phys. 97, 064112 (2005) (5 pages).
  • "Thermal stability of ferroelectric phases after a prior electric-field poling in Pb(Mg1/3Nb2/3)1 xTixO3 crystals,” C.-S. Tu, R.R. Chien, F.-T. Wang, V.H. Schmidt, and P. Han, Phys. Rev. B (R) 70, 220103 (2004). (4 pages).
  • “Elastic, piezoelectric, and dielectric properties of 0.58Pb(Mg1/3Nb2/3)O3-0.42PbTiO3 single crystal,” H. Cao, V.H. Schmidt, R. Zhang , W. Cao, H. Luo, J. Appl. Phys. 96, 549 (2004).
  • “Pressure-Induced Crossover from Long-to Short-Range Order in Pb[(Zn1/3Nb2/3)O3]0.905(TiO3)0.095 Single Crystal,” G.A. Samara, E.L. Venturini, and V.H. Schmidt, Appl. Phys. Lett. 76, 1327 (2000) (3 pages).
  • “Random Barrier Height Model for Phase Shifted Conductivity in Perovskites,” V.H. Schmidt, G.F. Tuthill, C.-S. Tu, T.V. Schogoleva, and S.C. Meschia, Ferroelectrics 199, 51 (1997) (17 pages).
View Text-only Version Text-only Updated: 1/5/2009
© Montana State University 2006 Didn't Find it? Please use our contact list or our site index.