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How do Nanogenerators Work?


Wouldn’t it be amazing if we could generate electricity by just being alive? Think about charging your iPod just by tapping your fingers to the beat of the music or by wearing your favourite hoodie with a diminutive circuit board that senses your pulse. It might sound like science fiction to you, but nanogenerators are bringing this fiction into reality. Now you must be thinking what are they and how do they work? Read on.

What are Nanogenerators?

Nanogenerator is a small electric chip that uses movements of the human body, like just a gentle finger pinch or even your heartbeat, to generate electricity. It is a nanoscale device fit for generating electromagnetic field, electric current or subatomic particle. There are 3 categories in nanogenerators:

  • Piezoelectric Nanogenerator
  • Triboelectric Nanogenerator
  • Pyroelectric Nanogenerator

How do Nanogenerators Work?

It consists of an integrated circuit, with elements made from silicone and piezoelectric ceramic, engraved onto a flexible surface, called a substrate. Through naked eyes, you can see a series of lines and boxes that appears flat. In piezoelectric material, electricity is generated. Let’s see how the above mentioned three tiny marvels work!

Piezoelectric Nanogenerator: These nanogenerators utilize the piezoelectric effect to generate electricity. This effect describes the formation of an electric field in response to deformity of the crystalline structure of the material. The change in the relative position of polarized molecules within the structure is the reason behind it. Application of direct pressure or vibration may result in deformation.

Triboelectric Nanogenerator: The operation of Triboelectric Nanogenerator is governed by the triboelectric effect.  It derives its name from the Greek word tribo, meaning rub. This effect is the phenomenon by which electrons are transferred from one surface to another through contact, making a difference in electric potential between two surfaces.

Pyroelectric Nanogenerator: As you must be expecting, pyroelectric nanogenerators utilize- see you already got it- the pyroelectric effect. It describes the generation of a voltage via a heat differential. When they are heated, positional changes of polarized items happens and voltage generation occurs within specific materials.

Bottom Line:

From technology inserted in your clothes to under-skin implants, nanogenerators swear to develop the future of nanotechnology far more convenient. Even tiniest of movements produce friction which further results in the production of electric current. The range of nanotechnologies is growing every year ranging from sensors to wearable electronics and we can there is no way of slowing down this progress of researchers.

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