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      Molecular surface functionalization to enhance the power output of triboelectric nanogenerators

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          Abstract

          For the enhancement of triboelectric nanogenerator’s output performance, the method of using self-assembled monolayers to functionalize surfaces is introduced.

          Abstract

          Triboelectric nanogenerators (TENGs) have been invented as a new technology for harvesting mechanical energy, with enormous advantages. One of the major themes in their development is the improvement of the power output, which is fundamentally determined by the triboelectric charge density. Besides the demonstrated physical surface engineering methods to enhance this density, chemical surface functionalization to modify the surface potential could be a more effective and direct approach. In this paper, we introduced the method of using self-assembled monolayers (SAMs) to functionalize surfaces for the enhancement of TENGs' output. By using thiol molecules with different head groups to functionalize Au surfaces, the influence of head groups on both the surface potential and the triboelectric charge density was systematically studied, which reveals their direct correlation. With amine as the head group, the TENG's output power is enhanced by ∼4 times. By using silane-SAMs with an amine head group to modify the silica surface, this approach is also demonstrated for insulating triboelectric layers in TENGs. This research provides an important route for the future research on improving TENGs' output through materials optimization.

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          Hybrid nanorod-polymer solar cells.

          We demonstrate that semiconductor nanorods can be used to fabricate readily processed and efficient hybrid solar cells together with polymers. By controlling nanorod length, we can change the distance on which electrons are transported directly through the thin film device. Tuning the band gap by altering the nanorod radius enabled us to optimize the overlap between the absorption spectrum of the cell and the solar emission spectrum. A photovoltaic device consisting of 7-nanometer by 60-nanometer CdSe nanorods and the conjugated polymer poly-3(hexylthiophene) was assembled from solution with an external quantum efficiency of over 54% and a monochromatic power conversion efficiency of 6.9% under 0.1 milliwatt per square centimeter illumination at 515 nanometers. Under Air Mass (A.M.) 1.5 Global solar conditions, we obtained a power conversion efficiency of 1.7%.
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            Transparent triboelectric nanogenerators and self-powered pressure sensors based on micropatterned plastic films.

            Transparent, flexible and high efficient power sources are important components of organic electronic and optoelectronic devices. In this work, based on the principle of the previously demonstrated triboelectric generator, we demonstrate a new high-output, flexible and transparent nanogenerator by using transparent polymer materials. We have fabricated three types of regular and uniform polymer patterned arrays (line, cube, and pyramid) to improve the efficiency of the nanogenerator. The power generation of the pyramid-featured device far surpassed that exhibited by the unstructured films and gave an output voltage of up to 18 V at a current density of ∼0.13 μA/cm(2). Furthermore, the as-prepared nanogenerator can be applied as a self-powered pressure sensor for sensing a water droplet (8 mg, ∼3.6 Pa in contact pressure) and a falling feather (20 mg, ∼0.4 Pa in contact pressure) with a low-end detection limit of ∼13 mPa.
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              Direct-current nanogenerator driven by ultrasonic waves.

              We have developed a nanowire nanogenerator that is driven by an ultrasonic wave to produce continuous direct-current output. The nanogenerator was fabricated with vertically aligned zinc oxide nanowire arrays that were placed beneath a zigzag metal electrode with a small gap. The wave drives the electrode up and down to bend and/or vibrate the nanowires. A piezoelectric-semiconducting coupling process converts mechanical energy into electricity. The zigzag electrode acts as an array of parallel integrated metal tips that simultaneously and continuously create, collect, and output electricity from all of the nanowires. The approach presents an adaptable, mobile, and cost-effective technology for harvesting energy from the environment, and it offers a potential solution for powering nanodevices and nanosystems.
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                Author and article information

                Journal
                JMCAET
                Journal of Materials Chemistry A
                J. Mater. Chem. A
                Royal Society of Chemistry (RSC)
                2050-7488
                2050-7496
                2016
                2016
                : 4
                : 10
                : 3728-3734
                Affiliations
                [1 ]School of Materials Science and Engineering
                [2 ]Georgia Institute of Technology
                [3 ]Atlanta
                [4 ]USA
                [5 ]Beijing Institute of Nanoenergy and Nanosystems
                [6 ]Chinese Academy of Sciences
                [7 ]Beijing
                [8 ]China
                Article
                10.1039/C5TA10239A
                d56f26ae-8559-4f24-9567-43ab21e372f9
                © 2016
                Product
                Self URI (article page): http://xlink.rsc.org/?DOI=C5TA10239A

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