Ferroelectric Polymers

Atomic polarization of the organic ferroelectric material polyvinylidene fluoride (PVDF) can be manipulated at the nanometer scale in order to influence the local electronic structure and reactivity at the surface. A DC voltage applied through a conductive scanning probe tip is used to pattern ferroelectric domains in a PVDF thin film, and the polarization direction of these domains influences the kinetics of electron exchange at the surface. By means of a surface photoreduction reaction, which occurs in a metal ion solution under ultraviolet irradiation, metal nanoparticles can be deposited in a predetermined configuration on the polymer surface. It was determined that the photoexcited electrons that take part in this surface reaction likely generate from the thermionic emission of electrons in defect states within the energy gap of the material and that these gap states are found not only at the interface, but throughout the polymer bulk.