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Proceedings Paper

From electrode charges on dielectric elastomers to trapped charges and electric dipoles in electrets and ferroelectrets: fundamental and applications-relevant aspects of diversity in electroactive polymers
Author(s): Reimund Gerhard
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Paper Abstract

Some recent developments in the areas of soft and basically incompressible electro-electrets (dielectric elastomers) with large strains, of anisotropic polymer ferro- or piezo-electrets with quasi-ferroelectric behavior, of moleculardipole electrets with significant ferro-, pyro- and piezo-electricity, and of space-charge polymer electrets with locally stabilised charges are described. Such materials may be applied, e.g., in soft actuators, energy harvesters and flexible and stretchable sensors for devices such as artificial muscles, electrically controllable refractive and diffractive optics, flexible pyroelectric detectors, motion and displacement sensors, earphones and microphones, ultrasonic transducers, air filters, radiation dosimeters, etc. The performance of dielectric elastomers for actuator, energy-harvester and sensor applications relies on a high relative permittivity and a low elastic modulus. High densities of electric charges in the electrodes are required in order to provide large Maxwell stresses or high energy densities. Significant amounts of localised or trapped charges, as well as electric dipoles from pairs of charges, lead to useful electro-mechanical and mechano-electrical effects (or inverse and direct piezoelectricity, respectively) if they are properly arranged in dielectric materials with extremely low conductivities. Space-charge electret films and ferroelectret systems should exhibit thermal and long-term stability of the trapped charges within the respective materials. Ferroelectric polymers and other polar polymers show useful piezo- and pyroelectric properties if their polymer-chain conformations allow for parallel packing of the molecular dipoles. Space-charge and molecular-dipole electrets are widely applied, e.g. in microphones, air filters, radiation dosimeters, ultrasonic transducers, etc. Basically, the performance of all electro-active polymers relies on the attraction (and repulsion) of electric charges and thus directly on the electro-magnetic interaction, one of the four fundamental interactions.

Paper Details

Date Published: 15 April 2016
PDF: 14 pages
Proc. SPIE 9798, Electroactive Polymer Actuators and Devices (EAPAD) 2016, 97980T (15 April 2016); doi: 10.1117/12.2218300
Show Author Affiliations
Reimund Gerhard, Univ. Potsdam (Germany)

Published in SPIE Proceedings Vol. 9798:
Electroactive Polymer Actuators and Devices (EAPAD) 2016
Yoseph Bar-Cohen; Frédéric Vidal, Editor(s)

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