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Ferroelectric polymer thin films for solid-state non-volatile random access memory applications

Swaroop Kaza, University of Massachusetts Amherst


Electronic polymers offer significant advantages towards ubiquitous computing due to their low-cost, flexibility and benign fabrication conditions. In this research, ferroelectric polymers were investigated for usage in non-volatile memory applications. The work is focused on the fabrication and ferroelectricity of Polyvinylidene-trifluoroethylene and Polyamide-11 (Nylon-11) thin films. Polyvinylidene fluoride (PVDF) and its copolymers were the first class of ferroelectric polymers discovered. Although the processes and properties of PVDF and copolymers have been extensively studied, most of the reports have been on polymers in the bulk form. This work focuses on thin films of PVDF-TrFE (75:25) copolymer fabricated by solution spin-casting. Remnant polarization, Pr, of the thin films was measured to be 6 μC/cm 2 with a coercive field, Ec, of 60 MV/m. The thin film properties are highly dependent on the temperature of crystallization and is attributed to the amount of all-trans β-phase and crystallinity. Fatigue, defined as polarization loss with repeated switching, was studied and a model based on space charge formation was proposed as the fatigue mechanism. Space charge formation was proposed to be caused by electrochemical reaction of ions (F-) at electrodes and accumulations of detrapped ions at grain boundaries. Incorporating a F- scavenger and forming small crystallites was both observed to decrease fatigue. Nylon-11 and other odd-nylons are the only other class of polymers that have been reported to exhibit ferroelectric D-E hysteresis. The published work has almost exclusively been reported on melt-quenched and cold-drawn bulk polymers and consequently there is no literature on ferroelectricity in thin film odd-nylons. The present work developed a process for the fabrication of ferroelectric thin films of nylon-11 by spin-casting. Among the solvents tested, only a solution with m-cresol was observed to result in ferroelectricity in spun films and could be correlated to the crystal structure of the films. A polarization response, Pr, of 5μC/cm 2 with a coercive field, Ec, of 50MV/m was observed. The processing conditions and their effect on crystal structure were investigated to achieve optimal polarization response. In conclusion, PVDF-TrFE copolymers were fabricated in thin film form and process conditions developed to improve ferroelectric properties. Nylon-11 thin films were successfully fabricated for the first time with a polarization response equivalent to that in bulk polymers.

Subject Area

Electrical engineering|Materials science

Recommended Citation

Kaza, Swaroop, "Ferroelectric polymer thin films for solid-state non-volatile random access memory applications" (2006). Doctoral Dissertations Available from Proquest. AAI3206210.