Nanomechanical and electrical characterization of a new cellular electret sensor–actuator

J.F.C. Windmill, A. Zorab, D. Bedwell, D. Robert

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

21 Citations (Scopus)


Electrically charged cellular polymers are known to display pseudo-piezoelectric effects that endow them with interesting mechano-electrical characteristics. When a film of such a polymer is compressed, charge is generated across its thickness, and conversely, applying an oscillatory or static potential elicits mechanical motions. This dual sensor-actuator behaviour can be embedded in one material and presents distinct advantages of functional integration. A novel electroactive foam is presented here that embeds such a sensor-actuator function. The foam has a sensitivity constant (d33) of 330 pC N−1. Interestingly, the resonant behaviour of the cellular film can be altered by variation in the DC offset across the material. Such adaptive capacity could be of great advantage for tuning polymer-based mechanical devices to be either efficient sound radiators and mechanical actuators, or sensitive and coherent sensors. Possible applications in microfluidics are also discussed.
Original languageEnglish
Article number035506
Number of pages7
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 23 Jan 2008


  • soft matter
  • liquids
  • polymers
  • electronics
  • devices
  • condensed matter
  • electrical
  • magnetic
  • optical
  • instrumentation
  • measurement
  • nanoscale science
  • low-D systems


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