Abstract

We propose an elastomer thin-film pressure sensor enabled by pressure-sensitive optical signals through vertical photonic tunnel-junction couplers. We provide the operation principle, design, fabrication, and test results from a 50 μm thick polydimethylsiloxane sheet accommodating embedded vertical photonic tunnel-junction couplers. The result with a 5 mm long device shows a differential optical power change that is 140% of the incident power under moderate external pressure of 40  kPa, thereby clearly demonstrating a robust pressure-sensing capability realized in a highly flexible, lightweight, transferrable, optically transparent, and bio-compatible thin-film material. Therefore, the proposed approach potentially enables versatile pressure and touch sensors for many applications in practice.

© 2018 Optical Society of America

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