Solution-processed transparent ferroelectric nylon thin films

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Science Advances  16 Aug 2019:
Vol. 5, no. 8, eaav3489
DOI: 10.1126/sciadv.aav3489


Ferroelectricity, a bistable ordering of electrical dipoles in a material, is widely used in sensors, actuators, nonlinear optics, and data storage. Traditional ferroelectrics are ceramic based. Ferroelectric polymers are inexpensive lead-free materials that offer unique features such as the freedom of design enabled by chemistry, the facile solution-based low-temperature processing, and mechanical flexibility. Among engineering polymers, odd nylons are ferroelectric. Since the discovery of ferroelectricity in polymers, nearly half a century ago, a solution-processed ferroelectric nylon thin film has not been demonstrated because of the strong tendency of nylon chains to form hydrogen bonds. We show the solution processing of transparent ferroelectric thin film capacitors of odd nylons. The demonstration of ferroelectricity, as well as the way to obtain thin films, makes odd nylons attractive for applications in flexible devices, soft robotics, biomedical devices, and electronic textiles.

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