Gold tab attached to skin converts mechanical energy into juice for wearables, self-powered electronics
Searching for a power outlet may soon become a thing of the past.
Instead, devices will receive electricity from a small metallic tab that, when attached to the body, is capable of generating electricity from bending a finger and other simple movements.
That’s the idea behind a collaborative research project led by University at Buffalo and Institute of Semiconductors (IoP) at Chinese Academy of Science (CAS). The tab — a triboelectric nanogenerator — is described in a study published online Jan. 31 in the journal Nano Energy.
“No one likes being tethered to a power outlet or lugging around a portable charger. The human body is an abundant source of energy. We thought: ‘Why not harness it to produce our own power?’” says lead author Qiaoqiang Gan, PhD, associate professor of electrical engineering in UB’s School of Engineering and Applied Sciences.
Triboelectric charging occurs when certain materials become electrically charged after coming into contact with a different material. Most everyday static electricity is triboelectric.
Researchers have proposed numerous nanogenerators that utilize the triboelectric effect; however, most are difficult to manufacture (requiring complex lithography) or are not cost effective. The tab that the UB and CAS team are developing addresses both of those concerns.
It consists of two thin layers of gold, with polydimethylsiloxane (also called PDMS, a silicon-based polymer used in contact lenses, Silly Putty and other products) sandwiched in between.
Key to the device is that one layer of gold is stretched, causing it to crumple upon release and create what looks like a miniature mountain range. When that force is reapplied, for example from a finger bending, the motion leads to friction between the gold layers and PDMS.
“This causes electrons to flow back and forth between the gold layers. The more friction, the greater the amount of power is produced,” says another lead author, Yun Xu, PhD, professor of IoP at CAS.
The study describes a small tab (1.5 centimeters long, by 1 centimeter wide). It delivered a maximum voltage of 124 volts, a maximum current of 10 microamps and a maximum power density of 0.22 millwatts per square centimeter. That’s not enough to quickly charge a smartphone; however it lit 48 red LED lights simultaneously.
Co-authors of the study include Huamin Chen at IoP and CAS; and Nan Zhang, a PhD student at UB.
Because the tab is easily fabricated, Zhang is leading a team of UB undergraduates which is tasked with improving the tab’s performance. The team plans to use larger pieces of gold, which when stretched and folded together are expected to deliver even more electricity.
Researchers are also working on developing a portable battery to store energy produced by the tab. They envision the system serving as a power source for various wearable and self-powered electronic devices.
Learn more: Your gadget’s next power supply? Your body
The Latest on: Self-powered electronics
via Google News
The Latest on: Self-powered electronics
- Moisture-powered, multifunctional flexible sensing systemson August 12, 2019 at 3:52 am
Connecting ultrathin, almost skin-like electronics and sensors with bulky, conventional batteries defeats the purpose. The ideal solution are self-powered devices that contain a built-in power ...
- This designer clothing lets users turn on electronics while turning away bacteriaon August 9, 2019 at 6:23 am
"For the first time, it is possible to fabricate textiles that can protect you from rain, stains, and bacteria while they harvest the energy of the user to power textile-based electronics," Martinez ...
- Engineering researchers receive NSF grant to study power generation from human sweaton May 2, 2019 at 5:00 pm
Their project is titled “Power-on-Skin: Energy Generation from Sweat-Eating Bacteria for Self-Powered Electronic Skins.” Electronics skin, or e-skin, refers to flexible, stretchable and self-healing ...
- Self-powered wearable techon May 2, 2019 at 6:57 am
In the medical field, stretchable/wearable electronics are being developed that are capable ... The newly invented approach should spark the advancement of self-powered stretchable electronic systems, ...
- Self-powered textile for wearable electronics by hybridizing fiber-shaped nanogenerators, solar cells, and supercapacitorson February 2, 2019 at 4:00 pm
1 School of Material Science and Engineering, Georgia Institute of Technology, Atlanta, GA 30332–0245, USA. 2 State Key Laboratory of Silicon Materials, School of Materials Science and Engineering, ...
- Chinese scientists develop nanogenerator to power wearable electronicson October 16, 2018 at 9:51 am
This washable nanogenerator with its woven structure has provided new opportunities for the development of self-powered wearable electronics. The research was published in the Journal of Materials ...
- Electrical engineering: Self-powered wearable tech flexes its muscleson September 26, 2018 at 6:40 pm
Self-powered, flexible electronics that can be worn on the skin could open up a new generation of biomedical devices to track various physiological signals, such as heartbeats. There is a need, ...
- Self-powered ultra-flexible electronics via nano-grating-patterned organic photovoltaicson September 26, 2018 at 10:08 am
Fig. 1: Design of the double-grating-patterned high-performance ultra-flexible OPV. Fig. 2: Mechanical durability of the double-grating-patterned ultra-flexible OPV. Fig. 3: Design of the ...
via Bing News