Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Nanowire Generates Power By Harvesting Energy From The Environment

Date:
September 28, 2007
Source:
University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Summary:
As the sizes of sensor networks and mobile devices shrink toward the microscale, and even nanoscale, there is a growing need for suitable power sources. Because even the tiniest battery is too big to be used in nanoscale devices, scientists are exploring nanosize systems that can salvage energy from the environment. Researchers have now shown that a single nanowire can produce power by harvesting mechanical energy.

Top: Schematic showing the experimental setup for the piezoelectric charge detection from an individual barium-titanate nanowire. Bottom: Scanning electron microscope image of the suspended nanowire under test.
Credit: L. Brian Stauffer

As the sizes of sensor networks and mobile devices shrink toward the microscale, and even nanoscale, there is a growing need for suitable power sources. Because even the tiniest battery is too big to be used in nanoscale devices, scientists are exploring nanosize systems that can salvage energy from the environment.

Now, researchers at the University of Illinois have shown that a single nanowire can produce power by harvesting mechanical energy. Made of piezoelectric material, the nanowire generates a voltage when mechanically deformed. To measure the voltage produced by such a tiny wire, however, the researchers first had to build an extremely sensitive and precise mechanical testing stage.

"With the development of this precision testing apparatus, we successfully demonstrated the first controlled measurement of voltage generation from an individual nanowire," said Min-Feng Yu, a professor of mechanical science and engineering, and a researcher at the university's Beckman Institute. "The new testing apparatus makes possible other difficult, but important, measurements, as well."

Yu and graduate students Zhaoyu Wang, Jie Hu, Abhijit Suryavanshi and Kyungsuk Yum describe the measurement, and the measurement device, in a paper accepted for publication in the journal Nano Letters, and posted on the journal's website.

The nanowire was synthesized in the form of a single crystal of barium titanate, an oxide of barium and titanium used as a piezoelectric material in microphones and transducers, and was approximately 280 nanometers in diameter and 15 microns long.

The precision tensile mechanical testing stage is a finger-size device consisting of two coplanar platforms -- one movable and one stationary -- separated by a 3-micron gap. The movable platform is driven by a single-axis piezoelectric flexure stage with a displacement resolution better than 1 nanometer.

When the researchers' piezoelectric nanowire was placed across the gap and fastened to the two platforms, the movable platform induced mechanical vibrations in the nanowire. The voltage generated by the nanowire was recorded by high-sensitivity, charge-sensing electronics.

"The electrical energy produced by the nanowire for each vibrational cycle was 0.3 attojoules (less than one quintillionth of a joule)," Yu said. "Accurate measurements this small could not be made on nanowires before."

While the researchers created mechanical deformations in the nanowire through vibrations caused by external motion, other vibrations in the environment, such as sound waves, should also induce deformations. The researchers' next step is to accurately measure the piezoelectric nanowire's response to those acoustic vibrations.

"In addition, because of the fine precision offered by the mechanical testing stage, it should also be possible to quantitatively compare the intrinsic properties of the nanowire to those of the bulk material," Yu said. "This will allow us to study the scale effect related to electromechanical coupling in nanoscale systems."

Funding was provided by the National Science Foundation. Part of the work was carried out in the University's Center for Microanalysis of Materials, which is partially supported by the U.S. Department of Energy.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. "Nanowire Generates Power By Harvesting Energy From The Environment." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 28 September 2007. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/09/070927121113.htm>.
University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. (2007, September 28). Nanowire Generates Power By Harvesting Energy From The Environment. ScienceDaily. Retrieved October 20, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/09/070927121113.htm
University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. "Nanowire Generates Power By Harvesting Energy From The Environment." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/09/070927121113.htm (accessed October 20, 2014).

Share This



More Matter & Energy News

Monday, October 20, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

'Robotic Eyes' Helps Japan's Bipedal Bot Run Faster

'Robotic Eyes' Helps Japan's Bipedal Bot Run Faster

Reuters - Innovations Video Online (Oct. 16, 2014) Japanese researcher uses an eye-sensor camera to enable a bipedal robot to balance itself, while running on a treadmill. Jim Drury reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Lockheed Martin's Fusion Concept Basically An Advertisement

Lockheed Martin's Fusion Concept Basically An Advertisement

Newsy (Oct. 15, 2014) Lockheed Martin announced plans to develop the first-ever compact nuclear fusion reactor. But some experts said the excitement is a little premature. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
First Confirmed Case Of Google Glass Addiction

First Confirmed Case Of Google Glass Addiction

Buzz60 (Oct. 15, 2014) A Google Glass user was treated for Internet Addiction Disorder caused from overuse of the device. Morgan Manousos (@MorganManousos) has the details on how many hours he spent wearing the glasses, and what his symptoms were. Video provided by Buzz60
Powered by NewsLook.com
Science Proves Why Pizza Is So Delicious

Science Proves Why Pizza Is So Delicious

Buzz60 (Oct. 15, 2014) The American Chemical Society’s latest video about chemistry in every day life breaks down pizza, and explains exactly why it's so delicious. Gillian Pensavalle (@GillianWithaG) has the video. Video provided by Buzz60
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Space & Time

Matter & Energy

Computers & Math

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins