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Flexible, biodegradable device can generate power from touch

Date:
August 12, 2015
Source:
American Chemical Society
Summary:
Long-standing concerns about portable electronics include the devices' short battery life and their contribution to e-waste. One group of scientists is now working on a way to address both of these seeming unrelated issues at the same time. They report the development of a biodegradable nanogenerator made with DNA that can harvest the energy from everyday motion and turn it into electrical power.
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Long-standing concerns about portable electronics include the devices' short battery life and their contribution to e-waste. One group of scientists is now working on a way to address both of these seeming unrelated issues at the same time. They report in the journal ACS Applied Materials & Interfaces the development of a biodegradable nanogenerator made with DNA that can harvest the energy from everyday motion and turn it into electrical power.

Many people may not realize it, but the movements we often take for granted -- such as walking and tapping on our keyboards -- release energy that largely dissipates, unused. Several years ago, scientists figured out how to capture some of that energy and convert it into electricity so we might one day use it to power our mobile gadgetry. Achieving this would not only untether us from wall outlets, but it would also reduce our demand on fossil-fuel-based power sources. The first prototypes of these nanogenerators are currently being developed in laboratories around the world. And now, one group of scientists wants to add another feature to this technology: biodegradability.

The researchers built a nanogenerator using a flexible, biocompatible polymer film made out of polyvinylidene fluoride, or PVDF. To improve the material's energy-harvesting ability, they added DNA, which has good electrical properties and is biocompatible and biodegradable. Their device was powered with gentle tapping, and it lit up 22 to 55 light-emitting diodes.

Video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rD7iXlmpuVc&feature=youtu.be


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Materials provided by American Chemical Society. Note: Content may be edited for style and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Abiral Tamang, Sujoy Kumar Ghosh, Samiran Garain, Md. Mehebub Alam, Jörg Haeberle, Karsten Henkel, Dieter Schmeisser, Dipankar Mandal. DNA-Assisted β-phase Nucleation and Alignment of Molecular Dipoles in PVDF Film: A Realization of Self-Poled Bioinspired Flexible Polymer Nanogenerator for Portable Electronic Devices. ACS Applied Materials & Interfaces, 2015; 7 (30): 16143 DOI: 10.1021/acsami.5b04161

Cite This Page:

American Chemical Society. "Flexible, biodegradable device can generate power from touch." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 12 August 2015. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2015/08/150812131650.htm>.
American Chemical Society. (2015, August 12). Flexible, biodegradable device can generate power from touch. ScienceDaily. Retrieved May 23, 2017 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2015/08/150812131650.htm
American Chemical Society. "Flexible, biodegradable device can generate power from touch." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2015/08/150812131650.htm (accessed May 23, 2017).

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