A “slight crosslinking” technique that gives ferroelectric materials elastic recovery has been proposed by a research team at the Ningbo Institute of Materials Technology and Engineering (NIMTE) of the Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS), under the direction of Prof. Runwei Li.
The findings were published in the journal Science.
Ferroelectric materials are extremely advantageous for applications like data storage and processing, sensing, energy conversion, optoelectronics, etc., making them widely sought-after in mobile phones, tablets, and other common electronic gadgets.
Conventional ferroelectric materials, on the other hand, have limited elastic recovery once the stress is released—typically less than 2%—and so tend to either be brittle (ferroelectric ceramics) or plastic (ferroelectric polymers).
These materials’ crystalline areas, devoid of inherent elasticity, are primarily responsible for their ferroelectric characteristics.
The researchers created a precise “slight crosslinking” technique to address the conflict between ferroelectric response and elastic recovery.
The researchers created a network structure in linear ferroelectric polymers by employing soft-long-chain polyethylene oxide diamine as the crosslinker and poly (vinylidene fluoride-trifluoroethylene) as the matrix material.
The crosslinked ferroelectric film mostly displayed a β-phase crystalline structure and was evenly disseminated in the crosslinked polymer network by carefully adjusting the crosslinking density at 1–2%.
The network structure’s ability to evenly distribute and bear external stresses during stress helps to minimize harm to the crystalline areas. As a result, these recently created ferroelectrics combine flexibility with significant crystallinity. The cross-linked film maintained a constant ferroelectric response and elastic recovery even at stresses of up to 70%, according to experimental results.
Based on their study, GAO Liang et al. have established a new research direction, elastic ferroelectrics.
Prof. Rengen Xiong, Director, Order Matter Science Research Center, Nanchang University
These elastic ferroelectrics have a wide range of potential applications in wearable electronics and smart healthcare due to their high resilience to mechanical and ferroelectric fatigue.
The K.C. Wong Education Foundation, the Zhejiang Province Qianjiang Talent Program, and the National Natural Science Foundation of China, among others, provided funding for this project.
Gao, L., et al. (2023) Intrinsically elastic polymer ferroelectric by precise slight cross-linking. Science. doi:10.1126/science.adh2509.