Prof. Dr. rer. nat. Dr. h.c. Gerhard M. Sessler


work 06151-16-22370

Work S3|06 231

Gerhard M. Sessler

Born 15 February 1931 in Rosenfeld, Germany


Studied physics at Universities of Freiburg, Munich, and Göttingen 1950 -1959

Diplom in 1957 and Dr. rer. nat. in 1959 at the University of Göttingen

Professional career

Member of Technical Staff in the Acoustics Research Department, Bell Laboratories, Murray Hill, 1959 – 1967; Supervisor in same Department, 1967 - 1975

Professor of Electroacoustics at Darmstadt University of Technology, since 1975

Dean of the Department of Electrical Communications Engineering at this University,

1976 - 1977 and 1989 - 1990

Emeritus Professor at Darmstadt University of Technology, since 1999

Main areas of recent research:

* Electrical properties of polymers, cellular dielectrics, and silicon-based materials, particularly

with respect to charge, polarization, and piezoelectric behaviour

* Electro-acoustic, ultrasonic, and electro-mechanical transducers, especially of the electret and piezo-polymer varieties

* Acoustic silicon sensors, optic-waveguide microphones, and silicon earphones (MEMS)

Main scientific contributions:

(for co-workers on these contributions see publication list)

* Investigations of sound propagation in rarefied gases (1957 - 65); detection of free-molecule propagation

* Co-invention and investigation of foil-electret microphone (1962 - 1975)

* Contributions to the acoustics of concert halls (1964 - 74); detection of the "seat effect" (1964)

* Studies of the propagation of acoustic waves in plasmas (1964 - 68)

* Solid-state investigations on charge and polarization phenomena in dielectrics (since 1968)

* Work on directional microphones, particularly second-order gradient microphones (1969 - 75 and 1985 - 89)

* Development of new methods to detect charge and polarization distributions in electrets (1977 - 1997); first description of laser-induced pressure-pulse (LIPP) method with µm-resolution (1981)

* Investigations of piezoelectric polymers and piezoelectric-polymer transducers (1980 - 1994);

co-invention of method to produce monomorphs or bimorphs in polymer films (1987 - 89)

* Development and investigation of acoustic silicon sensors and optic-waveguide microphones (1983 - 2004); first silicon condenser microphone (1983)

* Contributions to the poling of optically-nonlinear polymers and glasses (1994 - 1996)

* Investigations on signal processing and transducers for active vibration control (1997 - 2002)

* Contributions to the research on cellular polymers with high piezoelectric constants, so-called ferroelectrets or piezoelectrets (since 1999); analysis of operation (since 2000), improvement of piezoelectric activity by expansion methods (since 2004), thermally stable ferroelectrets (since 2006), dc-biased ferroelectrets (2008), ferroelectrets with patterned microstructure (2012).

* Development of cellular piezoelectric (piezoelectret) transducers: Microphones (since 2002); directional microphones (since 2006); accelerometers, energy-harvesting transducers, and ultrasonic transducers (since 2008)

Other professional activities and memberships:

Chairman, Deutsche Arbeitsgemeinschaft für Akustik (German Acoustics Association), 1984 - 1990

Consulting Professor, Tongji University, Shanghai, China, since 1986

Associate Editor of:

Acustica/acta acustica, since 1993

IEEE Transactions on Dielectrics and Electrical Insulation, since 1998

Fellow of:

Acoustical Society of America (USA), since 1964

IEEE (USA), since 1976

American Physical Society (USA), since 1991

Member of:

Audio Engineering Society (USA)

Materials Research Society (USA)

Deutsche Gesellschaft für Akustik (Germany)

Verein Deutscher Elektrotechniker (Germany)

Informationstechnische Gesellschaft (Germany)

Deutsche Physikalische Gesellschaft (Germany)

Numerous functions in these societies; active in many committees

Awards and Honors:

• Callinan Award (Electrochemical Society), 1970

• Senior Award (IEEE Group on Audio and Electroacoustics), 1971

• Thomas W. Dakin Award (IEEE Dielectrics and Electrical Insulation Society), 1986

• Whitehead Memorial Lecturer (IEEE Dielectrics and Electrical Insulation Society), 1992

• George R. Stibitz Award (American Telephone & Telegraph Company), 1993

• Helmholtz Medaille (Deutsche Gesellschaft für Akustik), 1993

• Helmholtz-Rayleigh Interdisciplinary Silver Medal (Acoustical Society of America), 1997

• Inductee, National Inventors Hall of Fame (USA), 1999

• Honorary Doctors Degree, Belarus Academy of Science, 2000

• Corresponding Member, Heidelberg Academy of Science, 2001

• Inventor of the week (Lemelson-MIT), 2005

• Technology Award (Eduard-Rhein-Foundation), 2007

• Inductee, New Jersey Inventors Hall of Fame, 2008

• VDE Ehrenring (Ring of Honour) (VDE: German Electrical Engineering Society), 2008

• Member, acatech (Deutsche Akademie der Technikwissenschaften), 2008

• Benjamin Franklin Medal in Electrical Engineering (The Franklin Institute), 2010

• IEEE/RSE Wolfson James Clerk Maxwell Award (IEEE/Royal Society of Edinburgh), 2012



Co-author and Editor of "Electrets" (Springer, 1980, 2nd Ed. 1987; Laplacian Press, 3rd Ed. 1999)

Editor (together with R. Gerhard-Multhaupt) of "Proceedings of 5th International Symposium on

Electrets" (IEEE Service Center, Piscataway, 1985)

Editor of "Sensoren-Technologie und Anwendung" (ITG-Fachbericht 126, VDE Berlin, 1994)

Co-author (with R. Lerch and D. Wolf) of “Technische Akustik” (Springer 2009)


About 330 publications in scientific and technical journals and in conference proceedings

February 2013