(Top) The nanogenerator produces a voltage under a periodic mechanical deformation. In the deformed nanogenerator, the red and blue regions indicate a positive and negative piezoelectric potential, respectively. (Bottom) Optical photographs of the nanowire array showing its flexibility and robustness. Credit: Long Gu, et al. ©2012 American Chemical Society

Nanogenerator’s output triples previous record

January 3, 2013 by Lisa Zyga

(Phys.org)—Taking an important step forward for self-powered systems, researchers have built a nanogenerator with an ultrahigh output voltage of 209 V, which is 3.6 times higher than the previous record of 58 V. The nanogenerator, which has an area of less than 1 cm2, can instantly power a commercial LED and could have a wide variety of applications, such as providing a way to power objects in the “Internet of Things.”

The researchers, led by Yong Qin at Lanzhou University in Lanzhou, China, and the Chinese Academy of Sciences in Beijing; and Zhong Lin Wang of the Chinese Academy of Sciences and the Georgia Institute of Technology in the US, have published their study on the new nanogenerator in a recent issue of Nano Letters.

The nanogenerator consists of an array of vertically aligned 420-?m-long nanowires, with electrodes on the top and bottom of the array. Under the periodic impact of an object weighing about half a pound, or simply the press of a finger, the nanogenerator experiences a pressure that causes the nanowire array to deform. Due to the piezoelectric effect, this mechanical compression drives electrons toward the bottom electrode, generating an electric current. When the heavy object is removed, the pressure is released and the electrons flow back through the circuit. By repeating this periodic mechanical deformation on the nanogenerator, the researchers could generate electricity.

Read more: Nanogenerator's output triples previous record — phys.org.

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