November 3, 2008

Nano brushes generate power

Make microscopic interconnecting brushes of the right materials and you can turn vibrations into electricity.

The nanoscale piezoelectric generator consists of vertical zinc oxide nanowires and pyramid-shaped metal-coated zinc oxide tips. Arrays of the nanowires face arrays of the tips, with the ends of the nanowires inserted among the tips. Vibrations cause the tips to bend the nanowires, which produces tiny but potentially useful amounts of electricity.

A double layer of the nanogenerator produces 0.11 microwatts per square centimeter.

The nanogenerator could be used to harvest electricity from shoes, car engines, tires and other vibrations sources.

Research paper:
Integrated Multilayer Nanogenerator Fabricated Using Paired Nanotip-to-Nanowire Brushes
Nano Letters, published online October 22, 2008

Researchers' homepage:
Zhong Lin (ZL) Wang's Nanoscience and Nanotechnology group

Related stories and briefs:
Power suits -- related research
Nano electricity -- related research

Back to ERN November 3/10, 2008



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