Reducing dielectric loss and enhancing electrical insulation for multilayer polymer films by nanoconfined ion transport under high poling electric fields†
High temperature polar polymers have demonstrated potential for good thermal stability and high dielectric constant at the same time. However, polarization of contaminated impurity ions in polar polymers, even at the ppm level, can significantly increase the dielectric loss at high temperature and low frequencies. One effective strategy to mitigate this problem is to multilayer them with a high temperature nonpolar dielectric polymer to confine impurity ion transport at the nanometer scale. In this study, confined ion transport in high temperature polycarbonate (HTPC)/poly(vinylidene fluoride) (PVDF) multilayer films under high AC electric fields was studied using a direct analytical simulation method. Different from the ion transport under low fields, the ion diffusion model failed to describe the ion transport under high electric fields. An exponential ion distribution profile, which was observed for the DC poling situation, was employed to implement the direct analytical simulation. Confined impurity ion transport under high AC fields was quantitatively understood. As the AC field increased, the mobile ion concentration decreased whereas the diffusion coefficient increased. The decrease of mobile ion concentration was explained by the blockage of impurity ions by the HTPC layers. This knowledge helped in the determination of optimal conditions to polarize impurity ions from the PVDF layers into the HTPC layers. After cooling below the glass transition temperature of HTPC, polarized impurity ions were locked inside the HTPC layers. As a result, increased discharge efficiency and enhanced electrical insulation (i.e., increased dielectric breakdown strength) were achieved for the polarized multilayer films.