Understanding the structure of pyroelectric materials is important to elucidate the nature of the temperature-dependent microscopic and macroscopic electric polarisation. Pyroelectric materials must have a non-centrosymmetric structure. Previously, researchers [C.A. Jones, PhD thesis, University of Durham, (1987); J. Mater. Chem. 1 (1991) 819; Langmuir 11 (1995) 4623] have reported the pyroelectric effect of non-centrosymmetric ultrathin LB films prepared using the alternate layer Langmuir-Blodgett (LB) deposition technique. They have proposed three main mechanisms to explain the origin of the pyroelectric activity, namely, tilting, proton transfer, and ionic processes. Linear and cyclic polysiloxane materials with aliphatic and aromatic side groups have been studied in this work. These materials have been alternately deposited with eicosylamine to form the active pyroelectric material in metal-LB film-metal (MIM) devices, whose pyroelectric coefficients have been measured using a quasi-static measurement technique [W.H. Majid, Abd., PhD thesis, Univ. of Sheffield (1994); Mater. Sci. Eng., C, Biomim. Mater., Sens. Syst. 3 (1995) 197; Thin Solid Films 327-329 (1998) 369]. The relation between pyroelectric mechanism(s) and microscopic and macroscopic pyroelectric response for polysiloxane/eicosylamine alternate layer LB films will be explained in this work. Results indicate that the physical mechanism by which the pyroelectric activity arises in the LB films is critically dependent upon their structural quality, the ions within the multilayer arrangement and the molecular dipole moments of the molecules. © 2002 Elsevier Science B.V. All rights reserved.
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