Facile preparation of poly(vinylidene fluoride) (PVDF) homopolymer nanoparticles (NPs) with monodispersed size distribution and predominant ferroelectric phases was done in an interfacial nonsolvent (water/methanol)-solvent (dimethylformamide (DMF))-polymer (PVDF) ternary system using two interfacial nanoassembly methods. First, a fluidic liquid-liquid interface consisting of two miscible solvents was created by introducing nonsolvent (water) under the PVDF solution. After the interface was created, the interface moved up to the DMF phase direction; PVDF NPs were produced through nonsolvent-induced phase separation. As the water content decreased in the nonsolvent by mixing with methanol, PVDF structures changed from nanoparticles with 252 nm average diameter (PVDF NP-1) to a porous membrane through membrane-wrapped NPs. The phenomena were found to be related to the mutual affinity of solvent, nonsolvent, and PVDF. When an additional external force was introduced to the water-DMF-PVDF system through magnetic stirring (reprecipitation method), smaller PVDF NPs with 61.4 nm diameter were obtained (PVDF NP-2). Both the as-prepared PVDF NPs were demonstrated with the predominant ferroelectric (electroactive (EA)) phase up to 97-98% among crystalline phases, which is apparently the highest value ever reported for PVDF homopolymer NPs. It is noteworthy that PVDF NP-2 showed a higher β phase ratio than that of PVDF NP-1, as proved using Fourier transform infrared (FT-IR) spectroscopy. Also, differential scanning calorimetry (DSC) and X-ray diffraction (XRD) measurements revealed that PVDF NP-1 exhibited higher crystallinity and that PVDF NP-2 underwent a well-separated two-step phase transition under heating. Results suggest that controlling interface formation with DMF and water plays a crucial role in manipulating ferroelectric PVDF nanostructures in terms of crystallinity and the ferroelectric β phase-to-γ phase ratio.
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