Author(s): McCarty LS, Whitesides GM
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Abstract This Review discusses ionic electrets: their preparation, their mechanisms of formation, tools for their characterization, and their applications. An electret is a material that has a permanent, macroscopic electric field at its surface; this field can arise from a net orientation of polar groups in the material, or from a net, macroscopic electrostatic charge on the material. An ionic electret is a material that has a net electrostatic charge due to a difference in the number of cationic and anionic charges in the material. Any material that has ions at its surface, or accessible in its interior, has the potential to become an ionic electret. When such a material is brought into contact with some other material, ions can transfer between them. If the anions and cations have different propensities to transfer, the unequal transfer of these ions can result in a net transfer of charge between the two materials. This Review focuses on the experimental evidence and theoretical models for the formation of ionic electrets through this ion-transfer mechanism, and proposes--as a still-unproved hypothesis--that this ion-transfer mechanism may also explain the ubiquitous contact electrification ("static electricity") of materials, such as organic polymers, that do not explicitly have ions at their surface.
This article was published in Angew Chem Int Ed Engl
and referenced in Journal of Developing Drugs