Nanogenerator: Vibration Energy The Secret To Self-powered Electronics

Incorporated directly into a cell phone housing, the team’s nanogenerator could harvest and convert vibration energy from a surface, such as the passenger seat of a moving vehicle, into power for the phone. The device is described as a “mesoporous piezoelectric nanogenerator”.
A multi-university team of engineers has developed what could be a promising solution for charging smartphone batteries on the go—without the need for an electrical cord.
The could become an integrated part of an electronic device—for example, as its back panel or housing—and automatically harvest energy from ambient vibrations to power the device directly.

The nanogenerator takes advantage of a common piezoelectric polymer material called polyvinylidene fluoride, or PVDF. Piezoelectric materials can generate electricity from a mechanical force; conversely, they also can generate a mechanical strain from an applied electrical field.Rather than relying on a strain or an electrical field, the researchers incorporated zinc oxide nanoparticles into a PVDF thin film to trigger formation of the piezoelectric phase that enables it to harvest vibration energy. Then, they etched the nanoparticles off the film; the resulting interconnected pores—called “mesopores” because of their size—cause the otherwise stiff material to behave somewhat like a sponge.

That sponge-like material is key to harvesting vibration energy. ”

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