New bio-compatible nanogenerators can harvest electricity from vibrations

Indian scientists have fabricated a simple, cost-effective, bio-compatible, transparent nanogenerator that can generate electricity from vibrations all around for use in optoelectronics, self-powered devices, and other biomedical applications, a Press Information Bureau (PIB) release said on Saturday.

The Centre for Nano and Soft Matter Sciences, Bengaluru, an autonomous institute under the Department of Science & Technology, has designed a transparent TENG, using thermoplastic polyurethanes (TPU) either in the form of electrospun nanofibers or as a flat film using the simpler Doctor’s blade technique, along with Polyethylene terephthalate (PET) as tribo layers.  TPU nanofibers are obtained from the electrospinning (ES) technique.  The Doctor’s blade technique, a routine procedure adapted in a variety of situations, squeezes the material through a blade and the substrate yielding a uniform thin layer, the PIB release added.

The easy availability of the active material and the simplicity of the fabrication process make it cost-effective over currently available fabrication techniques. The resulting device is also highly efficient, robust, and gives reproducible output over long hours of operation. The results were published in ‘Journal of Nanoscience and Nanotechnology’.

Searching for renewable energy resources with reduced carbon emissions is one of the most urgent challenges due to the increasing threat of global warming and energy crisis. Some of the unconventional methods to generate electricity include piezoelectric, thermoelectric, and electrostatic techniques used in devices like touch screens, electronic displays, and so forth.

The fabricated device could light up eleven LEDs by gentle hand tapping and could be a potential candidate for use in optoelectronics, self-powered devices, and other biomedical applications.

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