High-performance piezoelectric composites via beta phase programming

YJ Su and WX Li and XX Cheng and YH Zhou and S Yang and X Zhang and CX Chen and TN Yang and H Pan and GZ Xie and GR Chen and X Zhao and X Xiao and B Li and HL Tai and YD Jiang and LQ Chen and F Li and J Chen, NATURE COMMUNICATIONS, 13, 4867 (2022).

DOI: 10.1038/s41467-022-32518-3

Polymer-ceramic piezoelectric composites, combining high piezoelectricity and mechanical flexibility, have attracted increasing interest in both academia and industry. However, their piezoelectric activity is largely limited by intrinsically low crystallinity and weak spontaneous polarization. Here, we propose a Ti3C2Tx MXene anchoring method to manipulate the intermolecular interactions within the all- trans conformation of a polymer matrix. Employing phase-field simulation and molecular dynamics calculations, we show that OH surface terminations on the Ti3C2Tx nanosheets offer hydrogen bonding with the fluoropolymer matrix, leading to dipole alignment and enhanced net spontaneous polarization of the polymer-ceramic composites. We then translated this interfacial bonding strategy into electrospinning to boost the piezoelectric response of samarium doped Pb (Mg1/3Nb2/3)O-3-PbTiO3/polyvinylidene fluoride composite nanofibers by 160% via Ti3C2Tx nanosheets inclusion. With excellent piezoelectric and mechanical attributes, the as-electrospun piezoelectric nanofibers can be easily integrated into the conventional shoe insoles to form a foot sensor network for all-around gait patterns monitoring, walking habits identification and Metatarsalgi prognosis. This work utilizes the interfacial coupling mechanism of intermolecular anchoring as a strategy to develop high-performance piezoelectric composites for wearable electronics. The piezoelectricity of PVDF composites is mainly determined by the crystalline phases and spontaneous polarization. Here, the authors propose a Ti3C2Tx anchoring method to modulate the molecular interactions and conformation of polymer matrix.

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