The European Physical Journal Special Topics

, Volume 225, Issue 8–9, pp 1733–1742 | Cite as

A van der Waals density functional theory study of poly(vinylidene difluoride) crystalline phases

  • F. PelizzaEmail author
  • B.R. Smith
  • K. JohnstonEmail author
Regular Article Specific Models to Tackle Fundamental Questions
Part of the following topical collections:
  1. Modern Simulation Approaches in Soft Matter Science: From Fundamental Understanding to Industrial Applications


Ferroelectric polymers, such as poly(vinylidene difluoride) (PVDF), have many potential applications in flexible electronic devices. PVDF has six experimentally observed polymorphs, three of which are ferroelectric. In this work we use density functional theory to investigate the structural properties, energetics and polarisation of the stable α-phase, its ferroelectric analogue, the δ-phase, and the β-phase, which has the best ferroelectric properties. The results from a variety of exchange and correlation functionals were compared and it was found that van der Waals (vdW) interactions have an important effect on the calculated crystal structures and energetics, with the vdW-DF functional giving the best agreement with experimental lattice parameters. The spontaneous polarisation was found to strongly correlate with the unit cell volumes, which depend on the functional used. While the relative phase energies were not strongly dependent on the functional, the cohesive energies were significantly underestimated using the PBE functional. The inclusion of vdW interactions is, therefore, important to obtain the correct lattice structures, polarisation and energetics of PVDF polymorphs.


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© EDP Sciences and Springer 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Chemical and Process EngineeringUniversity of StrathclydeGlasgow G1 1XJUK
  2. 2.WestCHEM, Department of Pure and Applied Chemistry, University of Strathclyde, Thomas Graham BuildingGlasgow G1 1XLUK

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