AIR Option 1: Technology Translation Buckled Stiff Thin Films on Soft Substrates for High-Resolution Strain Sensing

Project: Research project

Project Details


Abstract The objective of this project is to develop a prototype product of a new type of strain sensor, that utilizes a novel tunable grating based on buckled thin films on soft substrates, rooted to a previous NSF award. The strain sensing mechanism lies on the scanning of a tightly focused laser beam onto the tunable grating that is attached to the sample surface, and detect the change of diffracted beam angle as a result of the strain. This strain sensor and its scanning mechanism are different from the existing strain mapping techniques, such as digital image correlation (DIC)/micro-Moir techniques, and scanning electron microscope DIC, filling a technology gap that requires high spatial resolution with simultaneous large field-of-view. The successful development of this new strain sensor capability will enable high spatial resolution, high sensitivity strain mapping that has attracted increasing interests in many fundamental and practical applications where strain analysis for heterogeneous materials/structures has become routine. The proposed project will significantly broaden the application of buckled stiff thin films on soft substrate. The proposed strain sensor can simultaneously realize high spatial resolution and large field-of-view, which makes a wide spectrum of strain measurement capability by aligning with Moir and DIC, which broadly impacts the research community and industry of strain measurement. The specific engineering study of reducing defects in grating will also impact the general area of buckling, which can be used for stretchable interconnects. This project is potentially transformative as it is anticipated to result in engineering contribution to the development of an innovative strain sensor as a new member in the family of strain measurement, which routinely impacts many different fields, ranging from structures, electronics, and health. The research will integrate education, particularly professional development and entrepreneurship for students for the next-generation leaders in technical transfer.
Effective start/end date10/1/139/30/15


  • National Science Foundation (NSF): $165,986.00


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