Detection of cracked teeth using a mechanoluminescence phosphor with a stretchable photodetector array

Ha Jun Kim, Sangyoon Ji, Ju Yeon Han, Han Bin Cho, Young Geun Park, Dongwhi Choi, Hoonsung Cho, Jang Ung Park, Won Bin Im

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

14 Citations (Scopus)


Cracked tooth syndrome (CTS) is an incomplete fracture of a human tooth that commonly arises from chewing hard foods. Although it is a very common syndrome, CTS is often difficult to diagnose owing to the common small size of tooth cracks. Conventional techniques for the detection of cracks, such as transillumination and radiographic methods, are inaccurate and have poor imaging resolution. In this study, we devise a novel method for the in vivo detection of tooth microcracks by exploiting the mechanoluminescence (ML) phenomenon. ZrO2:Ti4+ (ZRT) phosphor particles are pasted onto suspected regions of tooth cracks and emit cyan-colored light as a result of masticatory forces. Then, a stretchable and self-healable photodetector (PD) array laminated on top of the phosphor particles converts the emitted photons into a photocurrent, which facilitates the two-dimensional mapping of the tooth cracks. Because of the high photosensitivity of the PD, intense ML and small size of ZRT phosphor particles, it is possible to image submicron- to micron-sized cracks with high resolution. Furthermore, the uniqueness of this technique over the conventional techniques stems from the application of a simple optical phenomenon, i.e., ML, for obtaining precise information regarding the locations, depth, and length of tooth cracks.

Original languageEnglish
Article number26
JournalNPG Asia Materials
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2022 Dec

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2022, The Author(s).

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Modelling and Simulation
  • General Materials Science
  • Condensed Matter Physics


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