Anaheim CA (SPX) Apr 05, 2011
After six years of intensive effort, scientists are reporting development of the first commercially viable nanogenerator, a flexible chip that can use body movements - a finger pinch now en route to a pulse beat in the future - to generate electricity.
Speaking at the 241st National Meeting and Exposition of the American Chemical Society, they described boosting the device's power output by thousands times and its voltage by 150 times to finally move it out of the lab and toward everyday life.
"This development represents a milestone toward producing portable electronics that can be powered by body movements without the use of batteries or electrical outlets," said lead scientist Zhong Lin Wang, Ph.D. "Our nanogenerators are poised to change lives in the future. Their potential is only limited by one's imagination."
The latest improvements have resulted in a nanogenerator powerful enough to drive commercial liquid-crystal displays, light-emitting diodes and laser diodes. By storing the generated charges using a capacitor, the output power is capable to periodically drive a sensor and transmit the signal wirelessly.
"If we can sustain the rate of improvement, the nanogenerator may find a broad range of other applications that require more power," he added. Wang cited, for example, personal electronic devices powered by footsteps activating nanogenerators inside the sole of a shoe; implanted insulin pumps powered by a heart beat; and environmental sensors powered by nanogenerators flapping in the breeze.
Wang and colleagues demonstrated commercial feasibility of the latest nanogenerator by using it to power an LED light and a liquid crystal display like those widely used in many electronic devices, such as calculators and computers. The power came from squeezing the nanogenerator between two fingers.
The key to the technology is zinc oxide (ZnO) nanowires. ZnO nanowires are piezoelectric - they can generate an electric current when strained or flexed. That movement can be virtually any body movement, such as walking, a heartbeat, or blood flowing through the body. The nanowires can also generate electricity in response to wind, rolling tires, or many other kinds of movement.
The diameter of a ZnO nanowire is so small that 500 of the wires can fit inside the width of a single human hair. Wang's group found a way to capture and combine the electrical charges from millions of the nanoscale zinc oxide wires.
They also developed an efficient way to deposit the nanowires onto flexible polymer chips, each about a quarter the size of a postage stamp. Five nanogenerators stacked together produce about 1 micro Ampere output current at 3 volts - about the same voltage generated by two regular AA batteries (about 1.5 volts each).
"While a few volts may not seem like much, it has grown by leaps and bounds over previous versions of the nanogenerator," said Wang, a scientist at Georgia Institute of Technology. "Additional nanowires and more nanogenerators, stacked together, could produce enough energy for powering larger electronics, such as an iPod or charging a cell phone."
Wang said the next step is to further improve the output power of the nanogenerator and find a company to produce the nanogenerator. It could hit the market in three to five years, he estimated. The device's first application is likely to be as a power source for tiny environmental sensors and sensors for infrastructure monitoring.
Share This Article With Planet Earth
American Chemical Society
Powering The World in the 21st Century at Energy-Daily.com
New Approach To Programming May Boost Green Computing
Binghamton, NY (SPX) Mar 30, 2011
A Binghamton University computer scientist with an interest in "green" software development has received the National Science Foundation's most prestigious award for young researchers. Yu David Liu received a five-year, $448,641 grant from the NSF's Faculty Early Career Development (CAREER) Program. The highly competitive grants support junior faculty who exemplify the role of teacher-scho ... read more
Developing Commercial Hydrokinetic Energy Projects|
New Zealand to slash emissions by half
US energy future hazy on Japan, environment fears
Report: China leads in low-carbon energy
Giant Batteries For Green Power
Cuba to drill five new oil wells by 2013
Using River Water And Salty Ocean Water To Generate Electricity
First Practical Nanogenerator Produces Electricity With Pinch Of The Fingers
Manitoba wind farm comes online
Alstom Announces Commercial Operation Of First North American Wind Farms
Vestas unveils new offshore turbine
US hopes to resolve China wind turbine rift
UNI-SOLAR Powers Largest Solar Power Plant In French Riviera
Unirac Partners With Wise Power Systems On Breakthrough Solar Installation
First Polymer Solar-Thermal Device Heats Home, Saves Money
City to build solar carports with chargers
Bulgaria, Russia halt work on nuclear power plant
Nuclear Power Investment Must Not Be Delayed
Addressing The Nuclear Waste Issue
US nuke reprocessing would benefit French firm: study
Advance Toward Making Biodegradable Plastics From Waste Chicken Features
Short Rotation Energy Crops Could Help Meet UK's Renewable Energy Targets
Boeing Issues First Latin American Study On Jatropha Sustainability
Key Plant Traits Yield More Sugar For Biofuels
What Future for Chang'e-2
China setting up new rocket production base
China's Tiangong-1 To Be Launched By Modified Long March II-F Rocket
China Expects To Launch Fifth Lunar Probe Chang'e-5 In 2017
UN talks aim to thrash out tough details on climate
Japan nuclear crisis to affect climate battle: EU
Communicating Uncertain Climate Risks
Study: Ancient peoples had climate impact
|The content herein, unless otherwise known to be public domain, are Copyright 1995-2010 - SpaceDaily. AFP and UPI Wire Stories are copyright Agence France-Presse and United Press International. ESA Portal Reports are copyright European Space Agency. All NASA sourced material is public domain. Additional copyrights may apply in whole or part to other bona fide parties. Advertising does not imply endorsement,agreement or approval of any opinions, statements or information provided by SpaceDaily on any Web page published or hosted by SpaceDaily. Privacy Statement|