The effect of a self-pulsing non-equilibrium plasma discharge on piezoelectric PVDF nanofiber membrane was investigated. The plasma discharge was generated in air with a DC power source, with a discharge current of 0.012 mA, a nominal interelectrode separation of 1 mm, and discharge voltage of ~970 V. In a continuous fabrication process, the electrospinning method was used to generate thin nanofiber membrane with a flow rate of 0.7-1 mL h-1 and 25-27 kV voltage to obtain the nanofiber with high sensitivity and a higher degree of alignment and uniformity over a larger area. Plasma treatment was applied on both single layer and multi-layer (three layers) nanomembranes. In addition, simultaneously, the nanofiber membranes were heat-treated at a glass transition temperature (80-120 °C) and then underwent plasma treatment. Fourier-transform infrared (FTIR) spectroscopy showed that the area under the curve at 840 and 1272 cm-1 (β phase) increased due to the application of plasma and differential scanning calorimeter (DSC) indicated an increase in the degree of crystallinity. Finally, PVDF sensors were fabricated from the nanofibers and their piezoelectric properties were characterized. The results suggested that compared to the pristine samples the piezoelectric properties in the plasma and plasma-heat-treated sensors were enhanced by 70% and 85% respectively.
Keywords: PVDF nanofiber; electrospinning; non-thermal; piezoelectricity; plasma; sensors.