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Converting Biomechanical Energy into Electricity by a Muscle-Movement-Driven Nanogenerator

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journal contribution
posted on 11.03.2009, 00:00 by Rusen Yang, Yong Qin, Cheng Li, Guang Zhu, Zhong Lin Wang
A living species has numerous sources of mechanical energy, such as muscle stretching, arm/leg swings, walking/running, heart beats, and blood flow. We demonstrate a piezoelectric nanowire based nanogenerator that converts biomechanical energy, such as the movement of a human finger and the body motion of a live hamster (Campbell’s dwarf), into electricity. A single wire generator (SWG) consists of a flexible substrate with a ZnO nanowire affixed laterally at its two ends on the substrate surface. Muscle stretching results in the back and forth stretching of the substrate and the nanowire. The piezoelectric potential created inside the wire leads to the flow of electrons in the external circuit. The output voltage has been increased by integrating multiple SWGs. A series connection of four SWGs produced an output voltage of up to ∼0.1−0.15 V. The success of energy harvesting from a tapping finger and a running hamster reveals the potential of using the nanogenerators for scavenging low-frequency energy from regular and irregular biomotion.

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