Team develops biotemplated design of piezoelectric energy harvesting device

December 3, 2013
First row: Schemes of each step to explain biotemplated nanogenerator fabrication by using genetically engineered virus. Second row: Electron microscopy of each step in biotemplated synthetic processes and digital photograph of the flexible biotemplated nanogenerator. Right inset shows the driven LED optical fibers by the energy harvester. Credit: KAIST

A research team led by Professor Keon Jae Lee and Professor Yoon Sung Nam from the Department of Materials Science and Engineering at KAIST has developed the biotemplated design of flexible piezoelectric energy harvesting device, called "nanogenerator."

Nature has its own capabilities to spontaneously synthesize and self-assemble universal with sophisticated architectures such as shells, sea sponges, and bone minerals. For instance, the natural sea shell, consisting of calcium carbonate (CaCO3), is very rigid and tough whereas the artificial chalk made by the same material is fragile. In addition, most of artificial syntheses are performed under toxic, expensive and extreme environments in contrast to the natural syntheses, which are processed in benign and mild surroundings. If human can mimic these biological abilities, a variety of ecological and material issues can be solved.

The KAIST team modified a M13 viral gene, which is harmless to human and widely exist in nature, to utilize its remarkable ability of synthesizing a highly piezoelectric inorganic material, barium titanate (BaTiO3). By using this biotemplated , a high-output flexible nanogenerator could be fabricated with an enhanced performance. The flexible piezoelectric nanogenerator that converts mechanical energy of tiny movements into electrical energy is an attractive candidate for the next generation energy harvesting technology. This biotemplated nanogenerator will drive commercial LCD screens and LED bulbs by simple finger movements.

Professor Lee said, "This is the first time to introduce a biotemplated inorganic material to a self-powered system, which can be realized through eco-friendly and efficient material syntheses."

Explore further: Running Hamsters Can Power Nano Devices (Video)

More information: The research result was published in the November online issue of the American Chemical Society's journal, ACS Nano ("Virus-Directed Design of a Flexible BaTiO3 Nanogenerator"). In addition, the team also extended their research to a large-area and mass producible "PZT based nanocomposite generator," which was published in the December issue of Advanced Energy Materials.

Related Stories

Running Hamsters Can Power Nano Devices (Video)

February 12, 2009

(PhysOrg.com) -- Among the vast number of untapped energy sources are finger taps, heartbeats, and even hamsters running on exercise wheels. In a recent study, researchers from Georgia Tech have shown that when hamsters run ...

Giant piezoelectric effect to improve MEMS devices

December 2, 2011

Researchers in the Department of Materials Science and Engineering and the Materials Research Institute at Penn State are part of a multidisciplinary team of researchers from universities and national laboratories across ...

Graphene's piezoelectric promise

January 5, 2012

Engineers predict that graphene can be coaxed into acting piezoelectric, merely by punching triangular holes into the material.

Recommended for you

Meet the high-performance single-molecule diode

July 29, 2015

A team of researchers from Berkeley Lab and Columbia University has passed a major milestone in molecular electronics with the creation of the world's highest-performance single-molecule diode. Working at Berkeley Lab's Molecular ...

Reshaping the solar spectrum to turn light to electricity

July 28, 2015

When it comes to installing solar cells, labor cost and the cost of the land to house them constitute the bulk of the expense. The solar cells—made often of silicon or cadmium telluride—rarely cost more than 20 percent ...

Could stronger, tougher paper replace metal?

July 24, 2015

Researchers at the University of Maryland recently discovered that paper made of cellulose fibers is tougher and stronger the smaller the fibers get. For a long time, engineers have sought a material that is both strong (resistant ...

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.