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Sylvia Herbert


Sylvia graduated with her BS and MS in Mechanical Engineering and Mechanics in June of 2014. She now is a PhD student in Electrical Engineering at University of California Berkeley. In her spare time she enjoys reading, playing ukulele, annoying her little brothers, and traveling to interesting countries.

Sylvia's thesis focused on a novel photolithography method for manufacturing liquid crystal waveguides and optical switches. She also worked with Ben Pelleg and Alyssa Bellingham to develop H-PDLCs for display applications. H-PDLC stands for Holographically Formed, Polymer Dispersed Liquid Crystal. This is a thin film of polymer and liquid crystal that has been treated with a split laser to form a reflective Bragg grating. These H-PDLCs have the potential to make reflective, low cost displays that maintain the switching time of a liquid crystal (as opposed to other technologies like e-ink).

Sylvia has also worked with the newly founded ExCITe Center on making fabric antenna sensors to measure deformation. Silver-coated yarn is knitted into an antenna pattern using Shima Seiki industrial knitting machines. When the knitted antenna is stretched, the change in size, shape, and tension in the fabric cause changes in antenna properties (both in resistance and return loss frequency). Therefore this technology can be applied as a sensor for stretch in fabric. This has a huge number of potential applications, but the current application we are focusing on is for our Smart Fabric BellyBand: a band of fabric worn around the stomach of a pregnant woman to comfortably measure uterine contractions