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Home > News > A Hybrid Nano-Energy Harvester

April 9th, 2009

A Hybrid Nano-Energy Harvester

Abstract:
By Katherine Bourzac: Nanoscale generators can turn ambient mechanical energy--vibrations, fluid flow, and even biological movement--into a power source. Now researchers have combined a nanogenerator with a solar cell to create an integrated mechanical- and solar-energy-harvesting device. This hybrid generator is the first of its kind and might be used, for instance, to power airplane sensors by capturing sunlight as well as engine vibrations.

Nanogenerators typically use piezoelectric nanowires--hairlike zinc oxide structures that generate an electrical potential when mechanically stressed--to produce small amounts of power. The first such devices were made by Zhong Lin Wang, a professor at Georgia Tech and director of the institute's Center for Nanostructure Characterization. Wang hopes that nanogenerators will one day eliminate the need for batteries in implantable medical sensors, and will eventually generate enough power to charge up larger personal electronics.

Source:
technologyreview.com

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