Flexoelectric sensing using a multilayered barium strontium titanate structure
The flexoelectric effect has been recently explored for its promise in electromechanical sensing. However, the relatively low flexoelectric coefficients of ferroelectrics inhibit the potential to develop flexoelectric sensing devices. In this paper, a multilayered structure using flexoelectric barium strontium titanate (Ba0.65Sr0.35TiO3 or BST) ceramic was fabricated in an attempt to enhance the effective flexoelectric coefficients using its inherent scale effect, and hence to improve the flexoelectric sensitivity. The performances of piezoelectric and flexoelectric cantilevers with the same dimensions and under the same conditions were compared. Owing to the flexoelectric scaling effect, under the same force input, the BST flexoelectric structure generated a higher charge output than its piezoelectric P(VDF-TrFE) and PMN-30PT counterparts when its thickness was less than 73.1 μm and 1.43 μm, respectively. Also, amplification of the charge output using the multilayered structure was then experimentally verified. The prototyped structure consisted of three layers of 350 μm-thick BST plates with a parallel electric connection. The charge output was approximately 287% of that obtained using a single-layer structure with the same total thickness of the multilayered structure under the same end deflection input, which suggests high sensitivity sensing can be achieved using multilayer flexoelectric structures. 2013 IOP Publishing Ltd.