By Dr. Cameron Chai
A research team led by Keon Jae Lee, a Professor at the Department of Materials Science and Engineering of the Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology, has used piezoelectric ceramic nanoparticles to develop new types of large-area nanogenerator technology at a lower cost.
Nanocomposite generator produces electricity (Credit: KAIST)
Nanogenerator technology based on piezoelectric effects holds potential to become the next-generation energy producing technology as it transforms nonpolluting energy sources such as mechanical and vibrational energy from waves and winds into immeasurable electrical energy. Nevertheless, earlier nanogenerator technologies have drawbacks such as size-related constraints, high-cost and complex process.
Professor Lee's research team has successfully tackled all these drawbacks of earlier nanogenerators to fabricate a nanocomposite-based nanogenerator, which is not only a large-scale self-powered energy system but also simple and inexpensive.
The research team synthesized the piezoelectric nanocomposite by adding piezoelectric nanoparticles with carbon nanomaterials such as reduced graphene oxide and carbon nanotubes in a matrix of polydimethylsiloxane. The team then created the nanogenerator using the nanocomposite by employing the simple bar-coating or spin-casting technique.
Zhong Lin Wang, a Professor at the Georgia Institute of Technology, invented the nanogenerator. Wang informed that the use of nanocomposite materials in self-powered energy systems expands the applications of nanogenerators in wearable clothes, common sensor networks and consumer electronics.