High permittivity polymer-ceramic nanocomposite dielectric films take advantage of the ease of flexibility in processing of polymers and the functionality of electroactive ceramic fillers. Hence, films like these may be applied to embedded energy storage devices for printed circuit electrical boards. However, the incompatibility of the hydrophilic ceramic filler and hydrophobic epoxy limit the filler concentration and therefore, dielectric permittivity of these materials. Traditionally, surfactants and core-shell processing of ceramic fillers are used to achieve electrostatic and steric stabilization for adequate ceramic particle distribution but, questions regarding these processes still remain. The purpose of this work is to understand the role of surfactant concentration ceramic particle surface morphology, and composite dielectric permittivity and conductivity. A comprehensive study of barium titanate-based epoxy nanocomposites was performed. Ethanol and 3-glycidyloxypropyltrimethoxysilan surface treatments were performed, where the best reduction in particle agglomeration, highest value of permittivity and the lowest value of loss were observed. The results demonstrate that optimization of coupling agent may lead to superior permittivity values and diminished losses that are ~2–3 times that of composites with non-optimized and traditional surfactant treatments.
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