A Korean research team successfully developed a method to make a nanogenerator that can be used as a source of power for wearable devices.
The Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology (KAIST) announced on May 15 that a research team led by Lee Keon-jae, professor of the Department of Materials Science and Engineering at KAIST, succeeded in developing a new technique to make a nanogenerator that is 40 times more efficient using a laser lift-off technique and a piezoelectric thin film.
A nanogenerator is a device that can produce electricity by applying a small amount of pressure to a flexible nanomaterial or by bending the material itself. Since the generator can supply electricity to devices without wires or batteries, it can be utilized as a source of energy for flexible devices, small devices placed in the body like cardiac pacemakers or medical micro- or nanorobots.
The team transferred a highly-efficient piezoelectric thin film that was crystallized at a high temperature from a hard substrate to a plastic one and created a nanogenerator on the 2×2cm flexible substrate using a commercialized laser lift-off technique. As a result, the efficiency of the device was greatly improved, and the possibility of mass-production also increased. The nanogenerator was able to operate 105 LED light bulbs with 250V and 8µA of energy by slightly bending the device.
Professor Lee explained, “The newly-developed nanogenerator can be used as a source of energy without a limit, since it is capable of generating electricity utilizing natural energy resources like wind, vibration, or sound, as well as biomechanical energy from the human body through heart beats, blood flow, or the contraction and relaxation of muscles.”
The research team is planning to stack up the piezoelectric thin film in a 3D structure in order to create more electricity, and to conduct an experiment in which the material will be implanted on animals.
The research findings were published online in the April 23 issue of Advanced Materials, a weekly scientific journal covering materials science.