Bioinspiration For Ultrasensitive Optical Sensors

Since the earliest scientific developments, researchers have looked to nature as an inspiration source for designing novel functional devices. The so-called bioinspiration and biomimetic designs enabled the development of multifunctional sensors. Recently, researchers developed an ultrasensitive flexible optical waveguide sensor bioinspired in orb webs. They named it bioinspired multifunctional flexible optical sensor (BioMFOS).

The multifunctional feature of the structure is due to transparent resins that present both mechanical and optical properties for structural integrity and strain/deflection transmission and the optical signal transmission properties with the core/cladding configuration of a waveguide.

The BioMFOS has small dimensions (around 2 cm) and is lightweight (0.8 g), making it suitable for wearables. It has an ultra-high sensitivity and resolution, capable of detecting forces (with their location) in the micro-newton range with a sub-millimeter spatial resolution. The bioinspiration multifunctional device can be helpful in biomedical, biomechanics, and micro/nanotechnology applications.

The proposed sensor has a bioinspired structure in which a spider (orb) web-like shape was designed. It is worth mentioning that the center of the structure has a hole for the position of batteries and the micro light-emitting diode (μLED), resulting in a mooring sector. The bioinspiration on the spider webs to the sensor development is related to their multifunctional characteristics of this shape, where there is the combination of mechanical resistance, shock absorption, and vibration transmission performance.

Read more