Flexible Multifunctional Platform Based on Piezoelectric Acoustics for Human-Machine Interaction and Environmental Perception

Qian Zhang, Yong Wang, Dongsheng Li, Jin Xie*, Ran Tao, Jingting Luo, Xuewu Dai, Hamdi Torun, Qiang Wu, Wai Pang Ng, Richard Binns, Yongqing (Richard) Fu*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

12 Citations (Scopus)
22 Downloads (Pure)


Flexible human–machine interfaces show broad prospects for next-generation flexible or wearable electronics compared with their currently available bulky and rigid counterparts. However, compared to their rigid counterparts, most reported flexible devices (e.g., flexible loudspeakers and microphones) show inferior performance, mainly due to the nature of their flexibility. Therefore, it is of great significance to improve their performance by developing and optimizing new materials, structures and design methodologies. In this paper, a flexible acoustic platform based on a zinc oxide (ZnO) thin film on an aluminum foil substrate is developed and optimized; this platform can be applied as a loudspeaker, a microphone, or an ambient sensor depending on the selection of its excitation frequencies. When used as a speaker, the proposed structure shows a high sound pressure level (SPL) of ~90 dB (with a standard deviation of ~3.6 dB), a low total harmonic distortion of ~1.41%, and a uniform directivity (with a standard deviation of ~4 dB). Its normalized SPL is higher than those of similar devices reported in the recent literature. When used as a microphone, the proposed device shows a precision of 98% for speech recognition, and the measured audio signals show a strong similarity to the original audio signals, demonstrating its equivalent performance compared to a rigid commercial microphone. As a flexible sensor, this device shows a high temperature coefficient of frequency of −289 ppm/K and good performance for respiratory monitoring.
Original languageEnglish
Article number99
Number of pages13
JournalMicrosystems and Nanoengineering
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 14 Sept 2022


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