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Issue 28, 2012
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Spontaneous electric fields in films of cis-methyl formate

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A recent publication described a new group of spontaneously polarized materials in which electric fields in excess of 108 V m−1 may be present. This phenomenon arises through dipole alignment in solid films formed by straightforward deposition from vapour and characterises a novel class of materials. Here we present further results for the properties of these materials, focusing on films of cis-methyl formate. These films are shown to display some notable new chemical physics. We find the novel result that the degree of dipole alignment and the corresponding electric field in films of cis-methyl formate can have a counter-intuitive temperature dependence, increasing six-fold between 80 K and 89 K, in sharp contrast to the pronounced and expected fall with deposition temperature seen both here between 50 K and 75 K and in numerous other species. A theoretical model demonstrates that the switch of gradient with rising temperature should be a general phenomenon and is associated with crossing of a singularity in the gradient occurring at a set of critical values of temperature and alignment.

Graphical abstract: Spontaneous electric fields in films of cis-methyl formate

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Publication details

The article was received on 17 Apr 2012, accepted on 16 May 2012 and first published on 16 May 2012

Article type: Paper
DOI: 10.1039/C2CP41229B
Citation: Phys. Chem. Chem. Phys., 2012,14, 9972-9976

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    Spontaneous electric fields in films of cis-methyl formate

    O. Plekan, A. Cassidy, R. Balog, N. C. Jones and D. Field, Phys. Chem. Chem. Phys., 2012, 14, 9972
    DOI: 10.1039/C2CP41229B

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