New generation of piezoelectric nanogenerators powers nanosensor
By combining a new generation of piezoelectric nanogenerators with two types of nanowire sensors, researchers at teh Georgia Institute of Technology have created what are believed to be the first self-powered nanometer-scale sensing devices that draw power from the conversion of mechanical energy.
The new devices can measure the pH of liquids or detect the presence of ultraviolet light using electrical current produced from mechanical energy in the environment.
Based on arrays containing as many as 20,000 zinc oxide nanowires in each nanogenerator, the devices can produce up to 1.2 volts of output voltage, and are fabricated with a chemical process designed to facilitate low-cost manufacture on flexible substrates. Tests done with nearly one thousand nanogenerators – which have no mechanical moving parts – showed that they can be operated over time without loss of generating capacity.