Roll to Roll Electric Field "Z" Alignment of Nanoparticles from Polymer Solutions for Manufacturing Multifunctional Capacitor Films.

ACS applied materials & interfaces

PubMedID: 27322765

Guo Y, Batra S, Chen Y, Wang E, Cakmak M. Roll to Roll Electric Field "Z" Alignment of Nanoparticles from Polymer Solutions for Manufacturing Multifunctional Capacitor Films. ACS Appl Mater Interfaces. 2016;.
A roll to roll continuous processing method is developed for vertical alignment ("Z" alignment) of barium titanate (BaTiO3) nanoparticle columns in polystyrene (PS)/toluene solutions. This is accomplished by applying an electric field to a two-layer solution film cast on a carrier: one is the top sacrificial layer contacting the electrode and the second is the polymer solution dispersed with BaTiO3 particles. Flexible Teflon coated mesh is utilized as the top electrode that allows the evaporation of solvent through the openings. The kinetics of particle alignment and chain buckling is studied by the custom-built instrument measuring the real time optical light transmission during electric field application and drying steps. The nanoparticles dispersed in the composite bottom layer form chains due to dipole-dipole interaction under an applied electric field. In relatively weak electric fields, the particle chain axis tilts away from electric field direction due to bending caused by the shrinkage of the film during drying. The use of strong electric fields leads to maintenance of alignment of particle chains parallel to the electric field direction overcoming the compression effect. At the end of the process, the surface features of the top porous electrodes are imprinted at the top of the top sacrificial layer. By removing this layer a smooth surface film is obtained. The nanocomposite films with "Z" direction alignment of BaTiO3 particles show substantially increased dielectric permittivity in the thickness direction for enhancing the performance of capacitors.