Interfacial Piezoelectric Polarization Locking in Printable Ti3C2Tx MXene-Fluoropolymer Composites
Piezoelectric fluoropolymers convert mechanical energy to electricity and are ideal for sustainably providing power to electronic devices. To convert mechanical energy, a net polarization must be induced in the fluoropolymer, which is currently achieved via an energy intensive electrical poling process. Eliminating this process will enable the low-energy production of efficient energy harvesters. Here, by combining molecular dynamics simulations, piezoresponse force microscopy, and electrodynamic measurements, we reveal a hitherto unseen polarization locking phenomena of poly(vinylidene fluoride-co-trifluoroethylene) (PVDF-TrFE) perpendicular to the basal plane of two-dimensional (2D) Ti3C2Tx MXene nanosheets. This polarization locking, driven by strong electrostatic interactions enabled exceptional energy harvesting performance, with a measured piezoelectric charge coefficient, d33, of -52.0 picocoulombs per newton, significantly higher than electrically poled PVDF-TrFE (approximately -38 picocoulombs per newton). This study provides a new fundamental and low energy input mechanism of poling fluoropolymers, which enables new levels of performance in electromechanical technologies.