63rd IEEE Holm Conference on Electrical Contacts



The Holm Conference began in 1953 as a forum for the discussion of electrical contact phenomena and related fields. In 1968, the conference was named the Holm Conference in honor of Dr. Ragnar Holm. Dr. Holm, whose contributions to the field of electrical contacts spanned 50 years and form the foundation of the electrical contacts field, was the inspiration and guide of the Conference from its inception until his death in 1970.  In 1985, IEEE society started sponsoring the conference as a recognition of its importance in the field of electrical engineering.  In addition to the Annual Conference, the Conference Organization regularly conducts an intensive one-week course on contacts and participates in the biannual International Conference on Electrical Contacts.


Technical presentations normally also include the Ragnar Holm Scientific Achievement Award, the Dr. Morton Antler Lecture and TC1 meeting (open to everyone). They highlight the most recent electrical contact work all over the world.

Contacts Properties and Performance, Connector Contacts, Sliding Contacts, Aluminum Contacts, Arcing Contacts, Silver Metal Oxide Contacts, MEM Systems, Automotive Switches and Relays, Superconductor Contacts, Arc modeling, and Real-world Design and Applications Problems are familiar themes in the presentations.  Recent activities on MEMS, Arc Fault Detection, Smart Grid, ROHS and renewable power generation are adding new themes to the technical program.



The Ragnar Holm Scientific Achievement Award derives its significance and prestige from the scientist whose name it carries.  The contributions of Dr. Ragnar Holm to electrical contact theory and application are renowned the world over.  The award, created in 1971 by the Steering Committee of the Holm Conference, honors the memory of the founder of modern electrical contact science by recognizing outstanding scientists and engineers in the field of electrical contacts or related technologies.

An awards committee appointed by the steering committee of the conference meets annually and considers nominations for the award that have been received and determines whether they have a worthy candidate. The award is not limited to candidates from the United States, nor to works that have been presented to the IEEE-Holm Conference. A list of past awardees is as follows:


2015 Stanislav N. Kharin

2013 Sophie Noel

2010 Terutaka Tamai

2008 John J. Shea

2007 J. G. Zhang

2006 J. W. McBride

2005 G. J. Witter

2004 L. Sawa

2003 R. D. Malucci

2002 N. Ben Jemaa

1998 R. S. Timsit


1994 M. Braunovic

1993 M. Lindmayer

1992 E. Walczuk

1991 D. Kuhlmann-Wilsdorf

1990 T. Takagi

1989 W. H. Abbott

1988 K. H. Schroder

1987 J. H. Whitley

1986 J. L. Johnson

1985 P. G. Slade

1983 E. Ravinowicz

1982 W. Rieder

1981 J.B.P. Williamson

1980 M. Antler

1978 C. & H. W. Turner

1977 W. E. Campbell

1976 H. N. Wagar

1975 K. Mano

1974 E. I. Shobert, II

1973 A. Keil

1972 F. Llewellyn-Jones




The Armington Recognition Award was established to honor individuals who have contributed continuously in the operations of the IEEE Holm Conference. This included services in the technical committee, prize paper committee, operating committee, and steering committee.


R.E.Armington 1984

E.I. Shobert II 1985

H.N. Wagar & W.E. Campbell 1986

A. Snowdon 1987

E.W. Glossbrenner 1988

M. Antler 1989

J.B.P. Williamson 1990

J.D. Kleis 1991

D. Forster 1992

G. Witter 1993

G. Horn 1994

P. Slade 1995

W.H. Abbott 1996

E.F. Smith III 1997

R. Malucci 1998

M. Braunovic 1999

W. Rieder 2000

C. Leung 2002

P. Wingert 2004

H. Czajkowski 2008

J. J. Shea 2010

Dee-Dee Slade 2011

T. Schoepf 2013

X. Zhou 2014

B. Rickett 2015

R. Martens  2016


The Holm Conference Prize Paper Award was established in 1970. At that time, the Conference Steering Committee recognized that at each Conference there was at least one paper that stood out from the others in its technical content and quality of presentation. Therefore, the Prize Paper Award Committee was established. The Committee’s purpose is to review each paper, listen to each presentation and then judge which paper should receive the Prize Paper Award. The award is presented to the authors of the Prize Paper at the following year’s Holm Conference.

The Previous Awardees have been:

2015 Novel Materials Solutions and Simulations for Nanoelectromechanical Switches, F. Streller, G. E. Wabiszewski, D. B. Durham, F. Yang, J. Yang, Y. Qi, D. J. Srolovitz, A. M. Rappe, and R. W. Carpick

2014 Fundamentals Based Approach to Predict Socket Stack Performance, K. Meyyappan, A. McAllister, A. Abraham, V. Krithivasan, and G. Murtagian

2013 Characterization of EMI/RFI in Commercial and Industrial Electrical Systems, X. Zhou, J.J. Shea, and B. Pahl

2012 Application of (Motor Protection) Circuit Breakers in Combination with Variable Frequency Drives, Hans Weichert, Pascal Benz, and Sandro Liberto

2011 Compliant Carbon Nanotube-Metal Contact Structures, Onnik Yaglioglu, Rod Martens, Anyuan Cao, and A. H. Slocum.

2010 RF Currents Produced from AC Arcs with Asymmetrical Electrodes, J.J. Shea & X. Zhou

2009 A Simplified Model of Multiscale Electrical Contact Resistance and Comparison to Existing Closed Form Models, Robert Jackson, Robert Malucci, Santosh Angadi & Robert Polchow

2008 Influence of Grafting Properties of Organic Thin Films for Low Level Electrical Contacts Protection, S. Noel, D. Alamarguy, A. Benedetto, P. Viel, M. Balog

2007 Basic Investigations for Switching of RF Signals,  W. Johler

2006 Glowing Contact Physics, J. J. Shea

2005 Pore Corrosion Model for Gold Plated Copper Contacts, A.C. Sun, H.K. Moffat, D.G. Enos, and C.S. Glauner

2004 Electrical Conduction through Small Contact Spots, R. Timsit

2003 A Novel Concept for Fault Current Tolerable Contactors, X. Zhou and M. Little

2002 Gassing Arc Chamber Wall Material Effect on Post Current-Zero Recovery Voltage Breakdown, J. J. Shea

2001 3D-Simulation of Arc Motion Between Arc Runners Including the Influence of Ferromagnetic Material, M. Lindmayer and M. Springstubbe

2000 Contact Current Distortion Due to Tunnel Effect, E. Takano

1999 Make Arc Erosion and Welding in the Automotive Area, L. Morin, N. Ben Jemaa, D. Jeannot, J. Pinard, and L. Nedelec

1998 Contact Physics of Gold MicroContacts for MEM Switches , D. Hyman and M. Mehregany

1997 Intermittence Detection in Fretting Corrosion Studies of Electrical Contacts, S.R. Murrell and S.L. McCarthy

1996 Surface Film Resistivity of Cu and Cu-Alloy Crosswires , D. Kuhlmann-Wilsdorf and A. M. Rijke

1995 Connector Contacts:   Corrosion Inhibiting Surface Treatment for Gold Plated Finishes ,  W. H. Abbott and M. Antler

1994 Effects of Wipe on Contact Resistance of Aged Surfaces , B. Malucci

1993 Model Predictions of ARC Cathode Erosion Rate Dependance on Plasma Gas and on Cathode Material , X. Zhou, J. Heberlein and E. Pfender

1992 Effect of Axial Magnetic Field Upon the Development of the Vacuum Arc Between Opening Electric Contacts , M.B. Schulman, P.G. Slade and J. Heberlein

1991 Enhanced Sulfur Segregation in Plastically Deformed OFHC Cu and the Effect of Surface Segregated Sulfur on Electric Contact Resistance , R. Kothari and R. Vook

1990 The “Melting” Voltage in Electrical Contacts, R. Timsit

1989 Current-induced Aging of Contact Spots, M. Runde, E. Hodne and B. Totdal

1988 A New Rapid Screening Method for Silicones by Size Exclusion Chromatography,  A.J. Muller and R.L. Opila

1987 The Development and Performance Characteristics of Mixed Flowing Gas Test Environments, W.H. Abbott

1986 In Situ Examination of Segregation and Wear Processes of Precious Metal Electrical Contact Alloys, L.E. Pope and D.E. Peebles

1985 Comparison of Reignition Properties of Several Ag/W, Ag/WC and Ag/Mo Electrical Contact Materials, C.H. Leung, H.J. Kim and P.C. Wingert

1984 Titanium Nitride: A Potential Ceramic Low Energy Contact Material,  J. Nickerson, C. Ernsberger, and A.E. Miller

1983 The Vacuum Interrupter Contact, P. G. Slade

1982 Sliding Wear of Inlay Clad Metals and Electrodeposited Cobalt-Gold, M. Antler and E.T. Ratliff

1981 Cathode Spot Mechanism in the Transition from a Vacuum Metal Vapor Arc to a Nitrogen Arc-Erosion and Surface Contaminations Arced Copper Cathodes, D.R. Porto and C.W. Kimblin

1980 The Elucidation of Frictional Polymer Structure Using Fourier Transform, Infrared Spectroscopy and Pyrolysis Gas Chromatography/Mass Spectroscopy, L. Seebles and B.T. Reagor

1979 Effect of Alkali Additives on the Reignition Voltage of Ag/CdO, M. Lindmayer

1978 Wear of Gold Electrodeposits:   Effect of Substrate and of Nickel Underplate, M. Antler and M.H. Drozdowicz

1977 High Current Brushes I: Effect of Brush and Ring Materials .  J.L. Johnson and L.E. Moberly

1975 Silicon Oils on Electrical Contacts*b2Effects, Sources and Countermeasures , C.A. Russell and N.M. Kitchen

1974 A Correlation of Material Toughness, Thermal Shock, Resistance, and Microstructure of High Tungsten, Silver-Tungsten Composite Materials,  G.J. Witter and W.R. Warke

1973 The Use of Ceramic Matrices Infiltrated with Silver for Electric Contact Applications,  P.G. Slade, R. Kossowsky, R.G. Aspden and R.J. Bratton

1972 Tribological Properties of Gold for Electric Contacts, M. Antler

1971 The Effect of Electrode Material on the Initial Expansion of an Arc in Vacuum, P.G. Slade and M.F. Hoyaux

1970 Scanning Electron Microscopy of Contact Surfaces Before and After Arcing, M.J. Vasile and B.W. Kammlott





The Morton Antler Lecture is an annual lecture given at the IEEE Holm Conference on a topic of special interest to the electrical contact community.  This lecture series was established in honor of Dr. Morton Antler, a long-time member of the Holm Steering Committee and participant in the Holm Conference. Dr. Antler was a distinguished scientist and lecturer in the fields of electrical contacts, tribology, corrosion, and electrodeposition.  A list of past awardees is as follows:


 2016 Paul Slade, "50 Years of the Holm Conference on Electrical Contacts 1967 – 2016"

2015 J. Ph. Tock, "The Large Hadron Collider splices: A dive into the heart of the world's largest and most powerful particle accelerator "

2014 John Yurtin, “So What's All This Wireless Power Transfer Stuff About Anyway??"

2013 Robert L. Devaney, “Chaos Games and Fractal Images”

2012 Markus J. Buehler, “Computational Materials Science – From Atoms to Structures”

2011 Mark Anderson, “Modern Design of Experiments (DOC) – 75 years of Advancements in Multifactor Test Methods”

2010 Pete Theisen, “Emerging Renewable Energy and Storage Applications Demand Modern DC Switching Technologies for Control and Protection”

2009 Frank Mucklick, “Nanotomography of Electrical Contacts – New Insights by High Resolution 3D Analysis of Local Material Degradation”

2008 T. Schoepf, “Interplay Between Electromechanical and Solid State Switching Technologies for Meeting Cost, Sustainability, and Safety Demands of Various Applications”

2007 J.V.R. Heberlein, “Characterization of the Dynamic Arc-Anode Interaction and Plasma Deposition of nanocomposites to Tailor material s Properties”

2006 W. Johler, “The Design Challenges Involved in Miniaturization of Electromechanical Relays”

2005 J. A. Wafer, “The Evolution of Arc Fault Circuit Interruption”

2004 R. S. Mroczkowski, “A Perspective on Connector Reliability”

2003 N. L. Traub, “42 Volt Challenges: Technical Potholes on the Highway to Success”

2002 W. H. Abbott, “The Role of Electroplating in Contact Reliability”


Paul & Dee-Dee Slade Young Investigators Award


The objective of the Paul and Dee-Dee Slade Young Investigator Award is to recognize outstanding achievement of young investigators in the field of Electrical Contacts and to encourage young scientists and engineers to enter this field.  To be eligible for the Award, the candidate must: (1) Be under the age of 35 as of the closing date of the conference; (2) Present a paper at the Conference in which he or she is either the sole author or the first author of a multi-author paper.


Previous Awardees


2016 Chongpu ZhaiThe University of Sydney "Stress-Dependent Frequency Response of Conductive Granular Materials" Co-authors D. Hanaor, G. Proust and Y. Gan


2015 Michael Gatzsche  Technische Universität DresdenValidity of the Voltage-Temperature Relation for Contact Elements in High Power Applications" Co-authors N. Lucke, S. Gromann, T. Kufner, and G. Freudiger


2014 Houenouvo Hermann Technische Universität DresdenDiagnostics of the Transmission Properties of the Slip Ring System  in Doubly Fed Induction Generators


2013 Daniele Sette, CEA, LETI, France, Study of the Electrical Contact in a Fully Inkjet Printed Membrane Switch, Co-authors C. Poulain,  A. Yakoub, M. Saadaoui, B. Dubois, and A. Blayo,


2012 David Mercier, CEA - LETI, France, Quantitative Evolution of Electrical Contact Resistance Between Aluminum Thin Films, Co-authors V. Mandrillon, A. Holtz, F. Volpi, M. Verdier, and Y. Brechet


2011 Erika Crandall, Auburn University, “Whisker Growth Under Controlled Humidity Exposure”. Co-authors G. Flowers, P. Lall, M. Bozack


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