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June 30th, 2010
Just 700 rows of piezoelectric nanowires could power a nanoscopic sensor, according to new research at the Georgia Institute of Technology.
The team has developed two types of self-powered sensor, One can measure pH, the second can detect incident ultraviolet light. [Wang et al., Nature Nanotechnol (2010) 10.1038/nnano.2010.46]
Zhong Lin Wang and colleagues have built arrays of zinc oxide nanowires to form a nanogenerator that can convert mechanical energy into a 1.2 V electrical output. Their fabrication method uses a low-temperature (less than 100 Celsius) chemical process that can use flexible polymer substrates and is inexpensive to manufacture.
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