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.
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