Multimaterial Piezoelectric Fibers—Fabrics That Can Hear and Sing

date February 28, 2014
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Friday, February 28, 2014 4:00 p.m. ETC 4.150

Professor Zheng Wang
Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering
The University of Texas at Austin

Active fiber devices that can be electrically modulated at high frequencies promise a wide range of novel applications in energy transduction, sensing, and communications. I will present a novel technique of using thermal drawing to produce monolithic piezoelectric fibers that allow electrical modulation of their acoustic and optical properties. By integrating and poling ferroelectric materials, such as PVDF-TrFE copolymer in the fiber form, one can apply piezoelectric modulation to mitigate the high operational voltages typically required for electro-optical modulation. The fibers can be fabricated over kilometer-long lengths, and electrically actuated from a few Hz through a few MHz, and function as both receivers and transmitters. Beam steering and focusing are demonstrated using a flexible fiber phased array, which paves the way for dynamically reconfigurable acoustic emission and sensing of 3D acoustic fields for a variety of applications.