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Human Skin Based Triboelectric Nanogenerators for Harvesting Biomechanical Energy and as Self-Powered Active Tactile Sensor System

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posted on 22.10.2013, 00:00 by Ya Yang, Hulin Zhang, Zong-Hong Lin, Yu Sheng Zhou, Qingshen Jing, Yuanjie Su, Jin Yang, Jun Chen, Chenguo Hu, Zhong Lin Wang
We report human skin based triboelectric nanogenerators (TENG) that can either harvest biomechanical energy or be utilized as a self-powered tactile sensor system for touch pad technology. We constructed a TENG utilizing the contact/separation between an area of human skin and a polydimethylsiloxane (PDMS) film with a surface of micropyramid structures, which was attached to an ITO electrode that was grounded across a loading resistor. The fabricated TENG delivers an open-circuit voltage up to −1000 V, a short-circuit current density of 8 mA/m2, and a power density of 500 mW/m2 on a load of 100 MΩ, which can be used to directly drive tens of green light-emitting diodes. The working mechanism of the TENG is based on the charge transfer between the ITO electrode and ground via modulating the separation distance between the tribo-charged skin patch and PDMS film. Furthermore, the TENG has been used in designing an independently addressed matrix for tracking the location and pressure of human touch. The fabricated matrix has demonstrated its self-powered and high-resolution tactile sensing capabilities by recording the output voltage signals as a mapping figure, where the detection sensitivity of the pressure is about 0.29 ± 0.02 V/kPa and each pixel can have a size of 3 mm × 3 mm. The TENGs may have potential applications in human–machine interfacing, micro/nano-electromechanical systems, and touch pad technology.