Chemical and Biomolecular Research Papers -- Faculty Authors Series


Date of this Version



This paper was originally published in the Journal of " Applied Physics Letters" VOLUME 83, NUMBER 26 © 2003 American Institute of Physics.


In this letter, we demonstrate that, at mesoscales, nonferroelectric liquid films of poly~dimethyl siloxane! exhibit significant electrostriction not present in the corresponding bulk state. Remarkably, the observed electrostrictive effect has a response time ,20 ms in contrast to .5 ms recorded in conventional bulk ~ferroelectric! polymers. The emergence of this fast electrostrictive strain in thin films is explained in terms of the amalgamation of two contrasting dynamic features—the influence of a highly mobile, viscous layer ~at the air/film interface! on the less-mobile, but fast responding, solid-like layer at the film/substrate interface. The effect is observed for thickness below 200 nm.