Fibers with Large Area Electrodes and Piezoelectric Fibers

Technology #13866

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Figure 1 | Structure of piezoelectric fibres. a, Schematic of the fabrication process of a cylindrical piezoelectric fibre. A preform is constructed by consolidating a shell of P(VDF-TrFE), shells containing CPC/indium electrodes and poly(carbonate) (PC) cladding. b, SEM micrograph of the cross-section of a cylindrical piezoelectric fibre. c, XRD patterns of P(VDF-TrFE) samples extracted from drawn fibres and taken from melt-pressed films used in the preforms. The diffraction peaks indicate β-phase P(VDF-TrFE).
Professor John Joannopoulos
Research Laboratory of Electronics, MIT
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Professor Yoel Fink
Research Laboratory of Electronics, MIT
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Zheng Wang
Research Laboratory of Electronics, MIT
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Shunji Egusa
Research Laboratory of Electronics, MIT
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Noemie Chocat
Research Laboratory of Electronics, MIT
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Jim Freedman
MIT Technology Licensing Officer - Chemicals, Instruments, Consumer Products
Patent Protection

Multimaterial thermally drawn piezoelectric fibers

US Patent 9,365,013
Multimaterial piezoelectric fibres
Nature materials, 11 JULY, 2010
Multimaterial Piezoelectric Fibres – Fibers that can hear and sing
IEEE Explore, 2010


The invention can be used in a variety of novel applications in  the field of telecommunications and medical imaging such as fabric-to-fabric communications, distributed sensing, and vivo-endovascular imaging and acoustic microscopy inside acoustically-opaque organs.

Problem Addressed

Previous approaches to achieving electrically modulated fibers have focused on refractive index modulation, non-linear optical mechanisms realized in silica glass fibers, and electro-actively modulated polymer fibers. These methods are inherently limited by simple geometries, short fiber lengths, and high driving fields. Therefore, there is a need for electrically modulated fibers without these limitations.


This invention introduces rapid modulation into fibers through the piezoelectric effect. Embedding piezoelectric domains allow the fiber to be electrically actuated over broad frequencies and to function as sensitive broadband microphones. In short, this new class of fiber materials has engineered acoustic properties which make it function as acoustic transducers of extremely long lengths.  When integrated with other multi-material fiber elements developed previously such as Fabry-Perot optical cavities or photonic bandgap, these structures can be used for a multiplicity of applications such as electrically actuated tunable dispersion devices, or to form fabric arrays for large-area acoustic detection and transmission.


  • Longer fiber length is possible
  • Excellent uniformity can be achieved across the fiber