April, 2008

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Innovation and Development

Fiber Nanogenerators Successfully Developed

Following the piezoelectric nanogenerators based on zinc oxide nanowire arrays and the direct-current nanogenerator driven by ultrasonic waves separately developed in the year before last and last year, the Nano Research Group headed by Prof. Wang Zhonglin made another gigantic step forward in the nanogenerator research filed: they have successfully converted low-frequency vibrations of a Kevlar fiber into electrical energy by taking advantage of the ZnO nanowires grown radially on the fiber surface, the Feb. 14 issue of the journal Nature reported.

Compared with the previous nanogenerators, the newly developed one features several breakthroughs: the realization of ZnO nanowires grown radially on the fiber surface, which lends fundament to the production of flexible, foldable and wearable power systems (such as ˇ°power shirtˇ±); the ability of fiber-based nanogenerator to produce charge by utilizing low-frequency vibrations, which makes it possible to harvest power energy from mechanical motions such as body motion, wind or even a heartbeat; and the simple fabrication requiring mild conditions, which dramatically widens the application of this ZnO nanowires-based nanogenerators. On the basis of the current experimental data, Wang estimates that a square meter of fabric made from the special fibers could theoretically generate electricity approximately 20 to 80 milliwatts.

This significant achievement has been reported by several international media, e.g. BBC, NBC, PBS, and National Geographic, etc.

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