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Piezoelectric Nanoparticle-Polymer Composite Materials


Herein we demonstrate that efficient piezoelectric nanoparticle-polymer composite materials can be synthesized and fabricated into complex microstructures using sugar-templating methods or optical printing techniques. Stretchable foams with excellent tunable piezoelectric properties are created by incorporating sugar grains directly into polydimethylsiloxane (PDMS) mixtures containing barium titanate (BaTiO3 - BTO) nanoparticles and carbon nanotubes (CNTs), followed by removal of the sugar after polymer curing. Porosities and elasticity are tuned by simply adjusting the sugar/polymer mass ratio and the electrical performance of the foams showed a direct relationship between porosity and the piezoelectric outputs. User defined 2D and 3D optically printed piezoelectric microstructures are also fabricated by incorporating BTO nanoparticles into photoliable polymer solutions such as polyethylene glycol diacrylate (PEGDA) and exposing to digital optical masks that can be dynamically altered. Mechanical-to-electrical conversion efficiency of the optically printed composite is enhanced by chemically altering the surface of the BTO nanoparticles with acrylate groups which form direct covalent linkages with the polymer matrix under light exposure. Both of these novel materials should find exciting uses in a variety of applications including energy scavenging platforms, nano- and microelectromechanical systems (NEMS/MEMS), sensors, and acoustic actuators

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