Repository logo

Unprecedented Dipole Alignment in α-phase Nylon-11 Nanowires for High Performance Energy Harvesting Applications

Published version



Change log


Choi, Yeon Sik 
Kim, Sungkyun 
Smith, Michael 
Williams, Findlay 
Vickers, Mary 


Dipole alignment in ferroelectric polymers is routinely exploited for applications in charge-based sensing, energy, memory and actuation. Here, we present the first experimental realisation of ideally ordered and stable dipole alignment in α-phase Nylon-11 nanowires. This is an unprecedented discovery as dipole alignment is typically only ever achieved in ferroelectric polymers using an applied electric field, referred to as electrical poling, whereas here, we achieve dipole alignment in α-phase, an overlooked polymorph of Nylon proposed 30 years ago but never practically realized due to its ‘non-ferroelectric’ characteristics. Importantly, we show that the strong hydrogen bonding in α-phase Nylon-11 serves to enhance the molecular ordering, resulting in exceptional intensity and thermal stability of surface potential. This discovery has profound implications for the field of triboelectric energy harvesting as the presence of an enhanced surface potential leads to higher mechanical energy harvesting performance. Our approach therefore paves the way towards achieving robust, high-performance mechanical energy harvesters based on this unusual ordered phase of Nylon-11.



40 Engineering, 3403 Macromolecular and Materials Chemistry, 4016 Materials Engineering, 34 Chemical Sciences, 7 Affordable and Clean Energy

Journal Title

Science advances

Conference Name

Journal ISSN


Volume Title



American Association for the Advancement of Science
European Research Council (639526)
Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EP/L015552/1)
Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BB/R022283/1)
Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EP/P007767/1)
Is supplemented by: