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UBC Theses and Dissertations

Optimization of piezoelectric and mechanical performance of piezoelectric paper composites for MEMS applications Jeorje, Ninweh Nina


Paper, one of the oldest and greatest inventions, has and continues to play a significant role in many applications of day-to-day life. Recently, paper-based substrates have attracted significant attention in the realm of smart materials and electronics due to a growing desire for environmentally sustainable platforms, inexpensive flexible devices, and the opportunity to incorporate functional materials within the matrix. The possibility to integrate novel nanomaterials within the production methods of the paper industry is of current interest to enhance and to add new functionalities to conventional cellulose-fiber-based paper. Paper has been used as a substrate for flexible devices for several years now. However, the methods for preparing such paper-based devices are typically too complex for integration with large-scale paper manufacturing processes. This research proposes a simple process for manufacturing nanoparticle-incorporated paper-based piezoelectric composites with tailorable mechanical properties which is compatible with the conventional papermaking processes. This method utilizes a layer-by-layer process to electrostatically bind BaTiO3 particles (~300 nm diameter) to microfibrillated wood pulp with a significant particle loading of up to 72% yielding a high piezoelectric coefficient (d33) of up to 57.8 pC/N post corona poling. Such piezoelectric paper composites have potential in microelectromechanical systems (MEMS) and are used as a simple accelerometer and tactile sensor to demonstrate their efficacy in inertial sensing and touch applications. This work is part of a larger scope to develop a device which uses the functionalized paper as sensing strips for real-time particulate matter (PM) monitoring. In particular, PM2.5 (PM smaller than 2.5 μm) is targeted for detection as it is one of the main causes of air pollution related health issues, subsequently contributing to billions of dollars spent annually.

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