Dielectric barrier microdischarges. Mechanism for the charging of cellular piezoelectric polymers

Michael Lindner, Simona Bauer-Gogonea, Siegfried Bauer, Mika Paajanen, Jaakko Raukola

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

    126 Citations (Scopus)


    Charged closed-cell polymer foams have been found to be highly sensitive piezoelectric materials. Charging is shown to arise from dielectric barrier microdischarges within the voids of the cellular polymer. Above the threshold voltage for breakdown in the voids, the microdischarges are evidenced by light emission from the polymer, as well as by displacement-voltage hysteresis loops. Monitoring light emission during breakdown is shown to provide a quick check for the suitability of foams for piezoelectric applications. Additionally it allows for the visualization of micropores in foams in a nondestructive way. The piezoelectric response of the foam can be switched by applying dc-voltage pulses of alternating polarity above the breakdown threshold, thereby showing the feasibility of patterning the piezoelectric properties within the film plane. Although piezoelectric foams are nonferroelectric, the experiments prove similarities to ferroelectric materials with respect to hysteresis behavior, as well as a threshold (coercive) field for switching of the polarization and piezoelectricity.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)5283-5287
    JournalJournal of Applied Physics
    Issue number8
    Publication statusPublished - 2002
    MoE publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed


    • piezoelectric materials
    • polymers
    • foams
    • discharges (electric)
    • electric breakdown
    • hysteresis
    • porous materials
    • dielectric polarisation


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