Nanotechnology Now

Our NanoNews Digest Sponsors

Heifer International

Wikipedia Affiliate Button

Home > Press > Energy harvesting for self-powered nanosystems

(a) Experimental setup and procedures for generating electricity by deforming a piezoelectric nanowire using a conductive AFM tip. (b) Output voltage image map of ZnO nanowire arrays. ZnO: Zinc oxide. Pt: Platinum. Si: Silicon. Ag: Silver. VL: Voltage. RL: Load resister. I: Current.
(a) Experimental setup and procedures for generating electricity by deforming a piezoelectric nanowire using a conductive AFM tip. (b) Output voltage image map of ZnO nanowire arrays. ZnO: Zinc oxide. Pt: Platinum. Si: Silicon. Ag: Silver. VL: Voltage. RL: Load resister. I: Current.

Abstract:
Energy from sources such as body movement or blood flow is converted to electrical energy by deforming piezoelectric semiconducting nanowires.

Energy harvesting for self-powered nanosystems

WA | Posted on March 26th, 2008

Developing novel technologies for wireless nanodevices and nanosystems is of critical importance for in situ, real-time and implantable biosensing and defense applications, and even wearable personal electronics. A nanodevice requires a power source, which may be provided directly or indirectly by a battery. But it is highly desirable for wireless devices to be self-powered. That requires exploring innovative nanotechnologies for converting mechanical, vibration, and hydraulic energy into electric energy for battery-free nanodevices.

We have demonstrated an innovative approach for converting mechanical energy into electricity using piezoelectric zinc oxide (ZnO) nanowires that can be grown on any substrate (e.g., metals, ceramics, polymers, and textile fibers) of any shape.1,2 Measurements were performed by an atomic force microscope (AFM) equipped with a platinum-coated silicon tip. In the AFM contact mode, a constant normal force of 5nN (nanonewtons) was maintained between the tip and the sample surface. The tip scanned over the top of the ZnO nanowires, bending and releasing them (see Figure 1). The operation of the electric generator relies on the unique combination of the piezoelectric and semiconducting properties of ZnO.

The output power can be increased by using a large number of nanowires to generate electricity. The performance of the nanogenerator can be dramatically improved by mechanically deforming the nanowires to generate power in an adaptable, mobile, and cost-effective way over a larger scale than the AFM can achieve. The nanowires must all generate electricity simultaneously and continuously, and the electricity generated must be collected and output effectively. In addition, the energy to be converted should be provided in the form of waves or vibrations in the environment to enable the nanogenerator to operate `independently' and wirelessly. We have developed an innovative approach that uses ultrasonic waves to drive a nanogenerator built from an array of vertically aligned ZnO nanowires.3,4

The experimental setup is shown schematically in Figure 2. An array of aligned ZnO nanowires is covered by a zigzag silicon electrode coated with platinum. The platinum coating not only enhances the conductivity of the electrode but also creates a Schottky contact at the interface with the ZnO that functions like a p-n junction or diode.

The nanowires were grown on gallium nitride substrates, which served as a common electrode for directly connecting with an external circuit. The asymmetric piezoelectric potential across the width of a ZnO nanowire and the Schottky contact between the metal electrode and the nanowire are the two key processes for creating, separating, preserving, and outputting the charges. A top electrode is designed to achieve the coupling process and to replace the role played by the AFM tip, and its zigzag trenches act as an array of aligned AFM tips. The DC nanogenerator is driven by ultrasonic waves. Once the wave is on, a nanogenerator measuring 2mm2 delivers a current output of 30nA. The design is new, cost-effective, and meets the stipulated requirements. The approach provides a basis for optimizing and improving the performance of the nanogenerator for its applications in nanotechnology.

The principle and technology demonstrated here have the potential to convert energy from mechanical movement (such as body motion, muscle stretching, and blood pressure), vibrations (such as acoustic and ultrasonic waves), and hydraulic movement (such as flow of body fluid and blood, or contraction of blood vessels) into electrical energy to power nanodevices and nanosystems. Relevant applications include implantable biosensing, wireless and remote sensing, nanorobotics, microelectromechanical systems, and sonic wave detection.

This research was supported by the National Science Foundation, NASA, the Defense Research Projects Agency, and the National Institutes of Health. Thanks to Xudong Wang, Jinhui Song, and Jin Liu for their contribution.
Zhong Lin (Z.L.) Wang
Georgia Institute of Technology
Atlanta, GA

Zhong Lin Wang is a Regents' Professor and COE Distinguished Professor at Georgia Tech. He has authored and coauthored 4 scientific references and textbooks, published over 500 peer-reviewed journal articles, 55 review papers and book chapters, edited and coedited 14 volumes on nanotechnology, and holds 20 patents and provisional patents. His publications have been cited over 19,000 times. He has an H-index of 67. He was elected a fellow of the American Physical Society in 2005 and of the American Association for the Advancement of Science in 2006. He has received the 2001 S. T. Li Prize for an Outstanding Contribution in Nanoscience and Nanotechnology, the 2000 and 2005 Georgia Tech Outstanding Faculty Research Author Awards, the 2005 Sigma Xi Scientific Research Society Sustained Research Award, the 1998 and 2002 Sigma Xi Best Paper Awards, and the 1999 Burton Medal from the Microscopy Society of America.
References:
1. Z. L. Wang, J. H. Song, Piezoelectric nanogenerators based on zinc oxide nanowire arrays, Science 312, pp. 242, 2006.
2. P. X. Gao, J. H. Song, J. Liu, Z. L. Wang, Nanowire nanogenerators on plastic substrates as flexible power source, Adv. Mater. 19, pp. 67, 2007.
3. X. D. Wang, J. H. Song, J. Liu, Z. L. Wang, Direct current nanogenerator driven by ultrasonic wave, Science 316, pp. 102, 2007.
4. X. Wang, J. Liu, J. Song, Z. L. Wang, Integrated nanogenerators in bio-fluid, Nano Lett. 7, pp. 2475, 2007.

####

For more information, please click here

Copyright © SPIE

If you have a comment, please Contact us.

Issuers of news releases, not 7th Wave, Inc. or Nanotechnology Now, are solely responsible for the accuracy of the content.

Bookmark:
Delicious Digg Newsvine Google Yahoo Reddit Magnoliacom Furl Facebook

Related News Press

News and information

Silk could improve sensitivity, flexibility of wearable body sensors August 20th, 2017

The power of perovskite: OIST researchers improve perovskite-based technology in the entire energy cycle, from solar cells harnessing power to LED diodes to light the screens of future electronic devices and other lighting applications August 18th, 2017

Gold nanostars and immunotherapy vaccinate mice against cancer: New treatment cures, vaccinates mouse in small proof-of-concept study August 18th, 2017

Researchers printed graphene-like materials with inkjet August 17th, 2017

Sensors

Silk could improve sensitivity, flexibility of wearable body sensors August 20th, 2017

Researchers printed graphene-like materials with inkjet August 17th, 2017

Sensing technology takes a quantum leap with RIT photonics research: Office of Naval Research funds levitated optomechanics project August 10th, 2017

Giant enhancement of electromagnetic waves revealed within small dielectric particles: Scientists have done for the first time direct measurements of giant electromagnetic fields July 8th, 2017

Announcements

Silk could improve sensitivity, flexibility of wearable body sensors August 20th, 2017

The power of perovskite: OIST researchers improve perovskite-based technology in the entire energy cycle, from solar cells harnessing power to LED diodes to light the screens of future electronic devices and other lighting applications August 18th, 2017

Gold nanostars and immunotherapy vaccinate mice against cancer: New treatment cures, vaccinates mouse in small proof-of-concept study August 18th, 2017

Researchers printed graphene-like materials with inkjet August 17th, 2017

Military

Freeze-dried foam soaks up carbon dioxide: Rice University scientists lead effort to make novel 3-D material August 16th, 2017

2-faced 2-D material is a first at Rice: Rice University materials scientists create flat sandwich of sulfur, molybdenum and selenium August 14th, 2017

Moving at the Speed of Light: University of Arizona selected for high-impact, industrial demonstration of new integrated photonic cryogenic datalink for focal plane arrays: Program is major milestone for AIM Photonics August 10th, 2017

Sensing technology takes a quantum leap with RIT photonics research: Office of Naval Research funds levitated optomechanics project August 10th, 2017

Energy

The power of perovskite: OIST researchers improve perovskite-based technology in the entire energy cycle, from solar cells harnessing power to LED diodes to light the screens of future electronic devices and other lighting applications August 18th, 2017

Freeze-dried foam soaks up carbon dioxide: Rice University scientists lead effort to make novel 3-D material August 16th, 2017

Two Scientists Receive Grants to Develop New Materials: Chad Mirkin and Monica Olvera de la Cruz recognized by Sherman Fairchild Foundation August 16th, 2017

Fewer defects from a 2-D approach August 15th, 2017

NanoNews-Digest
The latest news from around the world, FREE



  Premium Products
NanoNews-Custom
Only the news you want to read!
 Learn More
NanoTech-Transfer
University Technology Transfer & Patents
 Learn More
NanoStrategies
Full-service, expert consulting
 Learn More











ASP
Nanotechnology Now Featured Books




NNN

The Hunger Project