Nanotechnology Now





Heifer International

Wikipedia Affiliate Button


DHgate

Home > Press > Triboelectric generator produces electricity by harnessing friction between surfaces

This schematic shows the fabrication process for patterned surfaces in the triboelectric nanogenerators and pressure sensors. A patterned silicon wafer serves as the mold for fabrication of PDMS thin films with micro-patterned features.

Credit: Image courtesy of Zhong Lin Wang
This schematic shows the fabrication process for patterned surfaces in the triboelectric nanogenerators and pressure sensors. A patterned silicon wafer serves as the mold for fabrication of PDMS thin films with micro-patterned features.

Credit: Image courtesy of Zhong Lin Wang

Abstract:
Polymer power

Researchers have discovered yet another way to harvest small amounts of electricity from motion in the world around us - this time by capturing the electrical charge produced when two different kinds of plastic materials rub against one another. Based on flexible polymer materials, this "triboelectric" generator could provide alternating current (AC) from activities such as walking.

Triboelectric generator produces electricity by harnessing friction between surfaces

Atlanta, GA | Posted on July 9th, 2012

The triboelectric generator could supplement power produced by nanogenerators that use the piezoelectric effect to create current from the flexing of zinc oxide nanowires. And because these triboelectric generators can be made nearly transparent, they could offer a new way to produce active sensors that might replace technology now used for touch-sensitive device displays.

"The fact that an electric charge can be produced through this principle is well known," said Zhong Lin Wang, a Regents professor in the School of Materials Science and Engineering at the Georgia Institute of Technology. "What we have introduced is a gap separation technique that produces a voltage drop, which leads to a current flow, allowing the charge to be used. This generator can convert random mechanical energy from our environment into electric energy."

The research was funded by the National Science Foundation, the Department of Energy and the U.S. Air Force. Details were reported in the June issue of the journal Nano Letters. In addition to Wang, authors of the paper included Feng-Ru Fan, Long Lin, Guang Zhu, Wenzhuo Wu and Rui Zhang from Georgia Tech. Fan is also affiliated with the State Key Laboratory of Physical Chemistry of Solid Surfaces at Xiamen University in China.

The triboelectric generator operates when a sheet of polyester rubs against a sheet made of polydimethysiloxane (PDMS). The polyester tends to donate electrons, while the PDMS accepts electrons. Immediately after the polymer surfaces rub together, they are mechanically separated, creating an air gap that isolates the charge on the PDMS surface and forms a dipole moment.

If an electrical load is then connected between the two surfaces, a small current will flow to equalize the charge potential. By continuously rubbing the surfaces together and then quickly separating them, the generator can provide a small alternating current. An external deformation is used to press the surfaces together and slide them to create the rubbing motion.

"For this to work, you have to use to two different kinds of materials to create the different electrodes," Wang explained. "If you rub together surfaces made from the same material, you don't get the charge differential."

The technique could also be used to create a very sensitive self-powered active pressure sensor for potential use with organic electronic or opto-electronic systems. The force from a feather or water droplet touching the surface of the triboelectric generator produces a small current that can be detected to indicate the contact. The sensors can detect pressure as low as about 13 millipascals.

Because the devices can be made approximately 75 percent transparent, they could potentially be used in touch screens to replace existing sensors. "Transparent generators can be fabricated on virtually any surface," said Wang. "This technique could be used to create very sensitive transparent sensors that would not require power from a device's battery."

While smooth surfaces rubbing together do generate charge, Wang and his research team have increased the current production by using micro-patterned surfaces. They studied three different types of surface patterning - lines, cubes and pyramids - and found that placing pyramid shapes on one of the rubbing surfaces generated the most electrical current: as much as 18 volts at about 0.13 microamps per square centimeter.

Wang said the patterning enhanced the generating capacity by boosting the amount of charge formed, improving capacitance change due to the air voids created between the patterns, and by facilitating charge separation.

To fabricate the triboelectric generators, the researchers began by creating a mold from a silicon wafer on which the friction-enhancing patterns are formed using traditional photolithography and either a dry or wet etching process. The molds, in which the features of the patterns are formed in recess, were then treated with a chemical to prevent the PDMS from sticking.

The liquid PDMS elastomer and cross-linker were then mixed and spin-coated onto the mold, and after thermal curing, peeled off as a thin film. The PDMS film with patterning was then fixed onto an electrode surface made of indium tin oxide (ITO) coated with polyethylene terephthalate (PET) by a thin PDMS bonding layer. The entire structure was then covered with another ITO-coated PET film to form a sandwich structure.

"The entire preparation process is simple and low cost, making it possible to be scaled up for large scale production and practical applications," Wang said.

The generators are robust, continuing to produce current even after days of use - and more than 100,000 cycles of operation, Wang said. The next step in the research will be to create systems that include storage mechanisms for the current generated.

"Friction is everywhere, so this principle could be used in a lot of applications," Wang added. "We are combining our earlier nanogenerator and this new triboelectric generator for complementary purposes. The triboelectric generator won't replace the zinc oxide nanogenerator, but it has its own unique advantages that will allow us to use them in parallel."

####

For more information, please click here

Contacts:
John Toon

404-894-6986

Copyright © Georgia Institute of Technology Research News

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

Chitosan coated, chemotherapy packed nanoparticles may target cancer stem cells June 30th, 2015

BASF and Fraunhofer IPMS-CNT jointly develop electronic materials June 30th, 2015

Researchers from the UCA, key players in a pioneering study that may explain the origin of several digestive diseases June 30th, 2015

Oxford Instruments’ TritonXL Cryofree dilution refrigerator selected for the Oxford NQIT Quantum Technology Hub project June 30th, 2015

Thin films

Stanford researchers stretch a thin crystal to get better solar cells June 25th, 2015

World’s 1st Full-Color, Flexible, Skin-Like Display Developed at UCF June 24th, 2015

Picosun ALD breaks through in medical technology June 23rd, 2015

Dyesol Joins Solliance as an Industrial Partner June 17th, 2015

Govt.-Legislation/Regulation/Funding/Policy

Graphene flexes its electronic muscles: Rice-led researchers calculate electrical properties of carbon cones, other shapes June 30th, 2015

X-rays and electrons join forces to map catalytic reactions in real-time: New technique combines electron microscopy and synchrotron X-rays to track chemical reactions under real operating conditions June 29th, 2015

Graphene breakthrough as Bosch creates magnetic sensor 100 times more sensitive than silicon equivalent June 28th, 2015

Building a better semiconductor: Research led by Michigan State University could someday lead to the development of new and improved semiconductors June 27th, 2015

Discoveries

Chitosan coated, chemotherapy packed nanoparticles may target cancer stem cells June 30th, 2015

Graphene flexes its electronic muscles: Rice-led researchers calculate electrical properties of carbon cones, other shapes June 30th, 2015

Researchers from the UCA, key players in a pioneering study that may explain the origin of several digestive diseases June 30th, 2015

Visible Light-Sensitive Photocatalysts Used for Purification of Contaminated Water in Iran June 30th, 2015

Announcements

BASF and Fraunhofer IPMS-CNT jointly develop electronic materials June 30th, 2015

Graphene flexes its electronic muscles: Rice-led researchers calculate electrical properties of carbon cones, other shapes June 30th, 2015

Researchers from the UCA, key players in a pioneering study that may explain the origin of several digestive diseases June 30th, 2015

Oxford Instruments’ TritonXL Cryofree dilution refrigerator selected for the Oxford NQIT Quantum Technology Hub project June 30th, 2015

Military

Graphene flexes its electronic muscles: Rice-led researchers calculate electrical properties of carbon cones, other shapes June 30th, 2015

The peaks and valleys of silicon: Team of USC Viterbi School of Engineering Researchers introduce new layered semiconducting materials as silicon alternative June 27th, 2015

Opening a new route to photonics Berkeley lab researchers find way to control light in densely packed nanowaveguides June 27th, 2015

World’s 1st Full-Color, Flexible, Skin-Like Display Developed at UCF June 24th, 2015

Energy

Visible Light-Sensitive Photocatalysts Used for Purification of Contaminated Water in Iran June 30th, 2015

The Hydrogen-Fuel cell will revolutionize the economy of the world: New non-platinum and nanosized catalyst for polymer electrolyte fuel cell June 29th, 2015

June 29th, 2015

Making new materials with micro-explosions: ANU media release: Scientists have made exotic new materials by creating laser-induced micro-explosions in silicon, the common computer chip material June 29th, 2015

Battery Technology/Capacitors/Generators/Piezoelectrics/Thermoelectrics/Energy storage

June 29th, 2015

X-rays and electrons join forces to map catalytic reactions in real-time: New technique combines electron microscopy and synchrotron X-rays to track chemical reactions under real operating conditions June 29th, 2015

Green Chemistry Methods Used in Iran to Produce Zinc Oxide Nanoparticles June 27th, 2015

Spain nanotechnology featured at NANO KOREA 2015 June 26th, 2015

Research partnerships

Graphene flexes its electronic muscles: Rice-led researchers calculate electrical properties of carbon cones, other shapes June 30th, 2015

June 29th, 2015

Graphene breakthrough as Bosch creates magnetic sensor 100 times more sensitive than silicon equivalent June 28th, 2015

The peaks and valleys of silicon: Team of USC Viterbi School of Engineering Researchers introduce new layered semiconducting materials as silicon alternative June 27th, 2015

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