Dielectric materials, which store energy electrostatically, are ubiquitous in advanced electronics and electric power systems1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8. Compared to their ceramic counterparts, polymer dielectrics have higher breakdown strengths and greater reliability1,2,3,9, are scalable, lightweight and can be shaped into intricate configurations, and are therefore an ideal choice for many power electronics, power conditioning, and pulsed power applications1,9,10. However, polymer dielectrics are limited to relatively low working temperatures, and thus fail to meet the rising demand for electricity under the extreme conditions present in applications such as hybrid and electric vehicles, aerospace power electronics, and underground oil and gas exploration11,12,13. Here we describe crosslinked polymer nanocomposites that contain boron nitride nanosheets, the dielectric properties of which are stable over a broad temperature and frequency range. The nanocomposites have outstanding high-voltage capacitive energy storage capabilities at record temperatures (a Weibull breakdown strength of 403 megavolts per metre and a discharged energy density of 1.8 joules per cubic centimetre at 250 degrees Celsius). Their electrical conduction is several orders of magnitude lower than that of existing polymers and their high operating temperatures are attributed to greatly improved thermal conductivity, owing to the presence of the boron nitride nanosheets, which improve heat dissipation compared to pristine polymers (which are inherently susceptible to thermal runaway). Moreover, the polymer nanocomposites are lightweight, photopatternable and mechanically flexible, and have been demonstrated to preserve excellent dielectric and capacitive performance after intensive bending cycles. These findings enable broader applications of organic materials in high-temperature electronics and energy storage devices.
Subscribe to Journal
Get full journal access for 1 year
only $3.90 per issue
All prices are NET prices.
VAT will be added later in the checkout.
Rent or Buy article
Get time limited or full article access on ReadCube.
All prices are NET prices.
Sarjeant, W. J., Zirnheld, J. & MacDougall, F. W. Capacitors. IEEE Trans. Plasma Sci. 26, 1368–1392 (1998)
Sarjeant, W. J., Clelland, I. W. & Price, R. A. Capacitive components for power electronics. Proc. IEEE 89, 846–855 (2001)
Tan, Q., Irwin, P. & Cao, Y. Advanced dielectrics for capacitors. IEEJ Trans. Fund. Mater. 126, 1152–1159 (2006)
Irvine, J. T. S., Sinclair, D. C. & West, A. R. Electroceramics: characterization by impedance spectroscopy. Adv. Mater. 2, 132–138 (1990)
Reaney, I. M. & Iddles, D. Microwave dielectric ceramics for resonators and filters in mobile phone networks. J. Am. Ceram. Soc. 89, 2063–2072 (2006)
Bell, A. J. Ferroelectrics: the role of ceramic science and engineering. J. Eur. Ceram. Soc. 28, 1307–1317 (2008)
Ogihara, H., Randall, C. A. & Trolier-McKinstry, S. High-energy density capacitors utilizing 0.7 BaTiO3–0.3 BiScO3 ceramics. J. Am. Ceram. Soc. 92, 1719–1724 (2009)
Xiong, B., Hao, H., Zhang, S. J., Liu, H. X. & Cao, M. H. Structure, dielectric properties and temperature stability of BaTiO3–Bi(Mg1/2Ti1/2)O3 perovskite solid solutions. J. Am. Ceram. Soc. 94, 3412–3417 (2011)
Chu, B. J. et al. A dielectric polymer with high electric energy density and fast discharge speed. Science 313, 334–336 (2006)
Ho, J., Jow, T. R. & Boggs, S. Historical introduction to capacitor technology. IEEE Electr. Insul. Mag. 26, 20–25 (2010)
Johnson, R. W., Evans, J. L., Jacobsen, P., Thompson, J. R. & Christopher, M. The changing automotive environment: high-temperature electronics. IEEE Trans. Electron. Packag. Manuf. 27, 164–176 (2004)
Watson, J. & Castro, G. High-temperature electronics pose design and reliability challenges. Analog. Dialog 46, 1–7 (2012)
Weimer, J. A. Electrical power technology for the more electric aircraft. In Proc. AIAA/IEEE Digital Avionics Systems Conf. http://dx.doi.org/10.1109/DASC.1993.283509 (IEEE, 1993)
Rabuffi, M. & Picci, G. Status quo and future prospects for metallized polypropylene energy storage capacitors. IEEE Trans. Plasma Sci. 30, 1939–1942 (2002)
Wang, D. H., Kurish, B. A., Treufeld, I., Zhu, L. & Tan, L. S. Synthesis and characterization of high nitrile content polyimides as dielectric films for electrical energy storage. J. Polym. Sci. A 53, 422–436 (2015)
Ho, J. & Jow, T. R. High field conduction in heat resistant polymers at elevated temperature for metallized film capacitors. In Power Modulator and High Voltage Conf. http://dx.doi.org/10.1109/IPMHVC.2012.6518764 (IEEE, 2012)
Venkat, N. et al. High temperature polymer film dielectrics for aerospace power conditioning capacitor applications. Mater. Sci. Eng. B 168, 16–21 (2010)
Tan, D., Zhang, L. L., Chen, Q. & Irwin, P. High-temperature capacitor polymer films. J. Electron. Mater. 43, 4569–4575 (2014)
Pan, J. L., Li, K., Chuayprakong, S., Hsu, T. & Wang, Q. High-temperature poly(phthalazinone ether ketone) thin films for dielectric energy storage. ACS Appl. Mater. Interf. 2, 1286–1289 (2010)
Dean, C. R. et al. Boron nitride substrates for high-quality graphene electronics. Nature Nanotechnol. 5, 722–726 (2010)
Sevik, C., Kinaci, A., Haskins, J. B. & Çağın, T. Characterization of thermal transport in low-dimensional boron nitride nanostructures. Phys. Rev. B 84, 085409 (2011)
Coleman, J. N. et al. Two-dimensional nanosheets produced by liquid exfoliation of layered materials. Science 331, 568–571 (2011)
Ieda, M. Dielectric breakdown process of polymers. IEEE Trans. Electr. Insul. 15, 206–224 (1980)
Li, Q. et al. Solution-processed ferroelectric terpolymer nanocomposites with high breakdown strength and energy density utilizing boron nitride nanosheets. Energy Environ. Sci. 8, 922–931 (2015)
Dang, Z. M., Yuan, J., Yao, S. H. & Liao, R. J. Flexible nanodielectric materials with high permittivity for power energy storage. Adv. Mater. 25, 6334–6365 (2013)
Montanari, D. et al. Film capacitors for automotive and industrial applications. In Proc. CARTS USA 23–38 (Electronic Components Industry Association, 2009)
O'Dwyer, J. J. The Theory of Electrical Conduction and Breakdown in Solid Dielectrics Ch. 1 (Clarendon, 1973)
Qin, S., Ho, J., Rabuffi, M., Borelli, G. & Jow, T. R. Implications of the anisotropic thermal conductivity of capacitor windings. IEEE Electr. Insul. Mag. 27, 7–13 (2011)
Zebouchi, N. et al. Electrical breakdown theories applied to polyethylene terephthalate films under the combined effects of pressure and temperature. J. Appl. Phys. 79, 2497–2501 (1996)
Mark, J. E. Physical Properties of Polymers Handbook Ch.10 (AIP Press, 1996)
Q.W. acknowledges financial support from the US Office of Naval Research under grant number N00014-11-1-0342. L.-Q.C. is supported by the Air Force Office of Scientific Research under grant number FA9550-14-1-0264. H.U.L. and T.N.J. acknowledge support from the Dow Chemical Corporation.
The authors declare no competing financial interests.
About this article
Cite this article
Li, Q., Chen, L., Gadinski, M. et al. Flexible high-temperature dielectric materials from polymer nanocomposites. Nature 523, 576–579 (2015). https://doi.org/10.1038/nature14647
Significantly enhanced breakdown strength and energy density in sandwich-structured nanocomposites with low-level BaTiO3 nanowires
Nano Energy (2021)
Enhancing high field dielectric properties of polymer films by wrapping a thin layer of self-assembled boron nitride film
Applied Surface Science (2021)
Materials Science and Engineering: R: Reports (2021)
Journal of Materials Research (2021)
Improving dielectric properties of poly(arylene ether nitrile) composites by employing core-shell structured BaTiO3@polydopamine and MoS2@polydopamine interlinked with poly(ethylene imine) for high-temperature applications
Journal of Alloys and Compounds (2021)