In this paper, we propose an innovative photoelectric material made of a mixture of liquid crystal and spiropyran which can be used to tailor the performance of piezoelectric sensors. The impedance variation of this photoelectric material can be controlled using different ultraviolet (UV) irradiation times. We found that the impedance of the liquid crystal-spiropyran mixture remains stable after the UV irradiation. Results showed that UV irradiation at 180 s resulted in the lowest mixture impedance. It appears that the electrical properties of the mixture have great potential to modulate a piezoelectric system since UV irradiation can be used to tailor the impedance of a photosensitive electrode made of a liquid crystal-spiropyran sensor for PZT (i.e. lead zirconate titanate) modal actuator/sensor applications. The main innovation of this paper is the demonstration of a new approach towards producing a positive and negative bias voltage in different regions of a sensor by using UV illumination for different time periods. A one-dimensional mode 2 sensor for a cantilever beam was designed and tested to verify the validity of this innovative approach. Since UV illumination can be changed in situ or in real time, this research also represents the creation of an optically defined/tailored modal sensor. In the future, a two-dimensional optical modal control could also be obtained using the method demonstrated.
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