A Thicker Film That Can Harvest More Energy from Body Movement

Achievement date: 
2016
Outcome/accomplishment: 

Scientists now can deposit crystals of a special material at a thickness twice that of earlier methods, with the greater volume promising to generate more electrical energy in a process called piezoelectricity. The process arises from strain placed on the material, such as forces generated by body movements—a central focus of research at the Engineering Research Center (ERC) for Advanced Self-Powered Systems of Integrated Sensors and Technologies (ASSIST), funded by the NSF and based at North Carolina State University.

Impact/benefits: 

Depositing thicker layers of crystals, in this case films of lead zirconate titanate (LZT), onto a flexible nickel-based foil, moves ASSIST research toward a key goal of harvesting enough energy from body movement to power tiny wearable devices. Increasing the thickness of the piezoelectric film generates more power, and greater power enables more sophisticated sensor systems and data transmissions.

Explanation/Background: 

Depositing thicker layers of crystals, in this case films of lead zirconate titanate (LZT), onto a flexible nickel-based foil, moves ASSIST research toward a key goal of harvesting enough energy from body movement to power tiny wearable devices. Increasing the thickness of the piezoelectric film generates more power, and greater power enables more sophisticated sensor systems and data transmissions.