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Issue 47, 2011
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A new form of spontaneously polarized material

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We report here the discovery of a new form of spontaneously polarized material. Examples of this material, in the form of films, demonstrate the property that they spontaneously harbour electric fields which may exceed 108Vm−1, achieving potentials of tens of volts on the film surface. The molecules presently identified form a diverse group, thus far of six species, with gas phase dipoles lying between 0.08 D and 0.5 D: propane (0.08 D), isopentane (0.13 D), nitrous oxide (0.167 D), isoprene (0.25 D), toluene (0.385 D) and CF3Cl (Freon-13; 0.5 D). Here we concentrate on an understanding of the nature of the interactions which give rise to the spontaneously polarized state, using the measured temperature dependence of the electric field in N2O as a diagnostic. We show that the polarized state can arise through a mechanism of non-linear dipole alignment in a single domain in which dipole alignment generates the electric field within the film and the field generates dipole alignment. Non-local interactions take place over the dimension of the thickness of the film and permeate the entire medium through the agency of the electric field. This new type of material may have wide ranging applications in devices and in nanotechnology.

Graphical abstract: A new form of spontaneously polarized material

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Publication details

The article was received on 15 Jul 2011, accepted on 13 Sep 2011 and first published on 21 Oct 2011

Article type: Paper
DOI: 10.1039/C1CP22310K
Citation: Phys. Chem. Chem. Phys., 2011,13, 21035-21044

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    A new form of spontaneously polarized material

    O. Plekan, A. Cassidy, R. Balog, N. C. Jones and D. Field, Phys. Chem. Chem. Phys., 2011, 13, 21035
    DOI: 10.1039/C1CP22310K

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