Toward the Targeted Design of Molecular Ferroelectrics: Modifying Molecular Symmetries and Homochirality.

08:00 EDT 15th April 2019 | BioPortfolio

Summary of "Toward the Targeted Design of Molecular Ferroelectrics: Modifying Molecular Symmetries and Homochirality."

Although the first ferroelectric discovered in 1920 is Rochelle salt, a typical molecular ferroelectric, the front-runners that have been extensively studied and widely used in diverse applications, such as memory elements, capacitors, sensors, and actuators, are inorganic ferroelectrics with excellent electrical, mechanical, and optical properties. With the increased concerns about the environment, energy, and cost, molecular ferroelectrics are becoming promising supplements for inorganic ferroelectrics. The unique advantages of high structural tunability and homochirality, which are unavailable in their inorganic counterparts, make molecular systems a good platform for manipulating ferroelectricity. Remarkably, based on the Neumann's principle and the Curie symmetry principle defining the group-to-subgroup relationship, we have found some outstanding high-temperature molecular ferroelectrics, like diisopropylammonium bromide (DIPAB) with a large spontaneous polarization up to 23 μC/cm ( Fu, D. W.; et al. Science 2013 , 339 , 425 ). However, their application potential is severely limited by the uniaxial nature, leading to major issues in finding proper substrates for thin-film growth and achieving high thin-film performance. Inspired by the commercialized inorganic ferroelectrics like Pb(Zr, Ti)O (PZT), where the multiaxial nature contributes greatly to the optimized ferroelectric and piezoelectric performance, developing high-temperature multiaxial molecular ferroelectrics is an imminent task. In this Account, we review our recent research progress on the targeted design of multiaxial molecular ferroelectrics. We first propose the "quasi-spherical theory", a phenomenological theory based on the Curie symmetry principle, to modify the spherical cations to a low-symmetric quasi-spherical geometry for acquiring the highly symmetric paraelectric phase and the polar ferroelectric phase of multiaxial ferroelectrics simultaneously. Besides the sizes and weights of the cation and anion, the intermolecular interactions are particularly crucial for decelerating the molecular rotation at low temperature to reasonably induce ferroelectricity. It means that the momentums of the cation and anion should be matched, so we describe the "momentum matching theory". In particular, introducing homochirality, a superiority of molecular materials over the inorganic ones, was demonstrated as an effective approach to increase the incidence of ferroelectric crystal structures. Thanks to the striking chemical variability and structure-property flexibility of molecular materials, our research efforts outlined in this Account have led to and will further motivate the richness and the application exploration of high-temperature, high-performance multiaxial molecular ferroelectrics, along with the implementation and perfection of the targeted design strategies.


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This article was published in the following journal.

Name: Accounts of chemical research
ISSN: 1520-4898


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