Peratech designs QTC Ultra Sensor for pressure-sensitive switching
5 June 2013
Yorkshire-based Peratech's QTC Ultra Sensor can be mounted behind a 0.1mm stainless steel or 0.5mm glass sheet and detect the pressure of a finger on the top of the sheet to act as a touch-sensitive switch. A deflection of a micron or so is sufficient for QTC to sense the touch through the sheet.
Quantum tunnelling composite material changes its resistance when pressure is applied, enabling it to be used to make pressure sensors that can respond to light touches even through steel or glass. QTC material has nano-sized particles of conductive material evenly distributed in a non-conductive polymer. When a force is applied the particles move close enough for electrons to flow between the particles using an effect called quantum tunnelling. QTC technology has been used to make the world's thinnest switch at only a few microns thick and can be made into any shape required or printed with whatever level of responsiveness to pressure that is needed.
QTC claims its switches are thinner, smaller, more discrete, less expensive and ultra-reliable as there is no air gap and no moving parts making them ideal for domestic, commercial and industrial equipment.
Peratech uses the intellectual property business model whereby it licenses the use of its QTC technology solutions to customers. "QTC Ultra Sensors have already attracted interest from white goods and automotive manufacturers," explained David Lussey, CTO of Peratech. "By taking a license they can deploy QTC Ultra Sensors throughout their product range to give sleek, discrete and ultra-reliable touch controls."