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Block copolymers based on poly(vinylidene fluoride)

PhD ceremony:V.S.D. Voet, MSc
When:January 30, 2015
Supervisors:prof. dr. K.U. (Katja) Loos, G. ten Brinke
Faculty:Science and Engineering
Block copolymers based on poly(vinylidene fluoride)

In recent decades, the hardware dimensions of electronic and storage devices for portable smart phones, laptops and cameras have scaled downwards, while their performance tremendously increased. To continue this trend in the near future, alternative materials need to be developed.

This research utilizes the intriguing nature of block copolymers to develop novel materials for data storage applications that are built into our everyday microelectronic devices. Block copolymers are large molecules composed of two different polymer blocks. Since both blocks are not compatible with each other (like water and oil), they phase separate on the nanoscale into domains of highly regular dots, lines or sheets, depending on the molecular architecture. The precise self-assembly of block copolymers - used in this research - is a convenient way to build electronic devices, since the molecules arrange spontaneously into ordered structures and the dimensions and functionality can be tailored easily.

In this research, we prepared block copolymers that include ferroelectric blocks. The ability of ferroelectric materials to exist in different polarized states (“1” and “0”) and to switch the polarization in an electric field enables their application in storage devices. Our block copolymers were used to produce well-ordered ferroelectric nanofoams. Furthermore, we backfilled the polymer nanofoam with magnetic compounds to generate multiferroic materials composed of both ferroelectric and ferromagnetic domains. Potential coupling between the electric and magnetic properties will permit data  to be written electrically and read magnetically.

Read also this interview with Vincent Voet: Turning gas into a hard drive