Spontaneously poling of electro-optic polymer thin films across a 1.1-mm thick glass substrate by pyroelectric crystals

Research output: Journal Publications and ReviewsRGC 21 - Publication in refereed journalpeer-review

7 Scopus Citations
View graph of relations


  • Su Huang
  • Zhian Jin
  • Ming Li
  • Tae-Dong Kim
  • Antao Chen


Original languageEnglish
Article number183305
Journal / PublicationApplied Physics Letters
Issue number18
Publication statusPublished - 3 Nov 2014
Externally publishedYes


We developed a method to pole electro-optic (E-O) polymer thin films using pyroelectric crystals instead of external high voltage source unit. The process is based on a multi-layered dielectric stack, in which micron-thick E-O polymer films were sandwiched between millimeter thick pyroelectric crystal and borosilicate glass substrate. Through modest temperature change, very large electric fields could be spontaneously generated from pyroelectric effect of the crystals, which can deliver high effective field strength (up to 0.7 MV/cm) to the E-O polymer thin films across the glass plate. Very intriguing phenomena of significantly reduced leak through current (LTC) and improved dielectric breakdown strength of E-O polymers were observed. As a result, large Pockels coefficients of 62 pm/V at 1.31 μ m can be obtained for poled E-O thin films. The good agreement between theory and experimentally measured results in the study provide important insights of electrostatics in pyroelectric systems and their effective interactions with thin film E-O polymeric materials. It also demonstrates that pyroelectric poling is a promising alternative to commonly used contact poling and corona poling that offers unique advantages of high field strength and near-zero LTC for polarizing dielectric functional materials and devices.