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Title: Polymer Based Triboelectric Nanogenerator for Cost‐Effective Green Energy Generation and Implementation of Surface‐Charge Engineering
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Author(s) / Creator(s):
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Publisher / Repository:
Wiley Blackwell (John Wiley & Sons)
Date Published:
Journal Name:
Energy Technology
Medium: X
Sponsoring Org:
National Science Foundation
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  1. Abstract

    The air breakdown phenomenon is generally considered as a negative effect in previous research on triboelectric nanogenerators (TENGs), which is always accompanied by air ionization. Here, by utilizing the air breakdown induced ionized air channel, a direct‐current triboelectric nanogenerator (DC‐TENG) is designed for harvesting contact‐separation mechanical energy. During working process, the charges first transfer from bottom to top electrodes through an external circuit in contact state, then flow back via the ionized air channel created by air breakdown in the separation process. So a unidirectional flow of electrical charges can be observed in the external circuit. With repeating contact‐separation cycles, continuous pulsed DC output through the external circuit can be realized. This working mechanism was verified by real‐time electrode potential monitoring, photocurrent signal detection, and controllable discharging observation. The DC‐TENG can be used for directly and continuously charging an energy storage unit and/or driving electronic devices without using a bridge rectifier. Owing to its simplicity in structure, the mechanism is further applied to fabricate the first flexible DC‐TENG. This research provides a significant fundamental study for DC‐TENG technology and may expand its application in flexible electronics and flexible self‐charging power systems.

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  2. Abstract

    Triboelectric nanogenerators offer an environmentally friendly approach to harvesting energy from mechanical excitations. This capability has made them widely sought‐after as an efficient, renewable, and sustainable energy source, with the potential to decrease reliance on traditional fossil fuels. However, developing triboelectric nanogenerators with specific output remains a challenge mainly due to the uncertainties associated with their complex designs for real‐life applications. Artificial intelligence‐enabled inverse design is a powerful tool to realize performance‐oriented triboelectric nanogenerators. This is an emerging scientific direction that can address the concerns about the design and optimization of triboelectric nanogenerators leading to a next generation nanogenerator systems. This perspective paper aims at reviewing the principal analysis of triboelectricity, summarizing the current challenges of designing and optimizing triboelectric nanogenerators, and highlighting the physics‐informed inverse design strategies to develop triboelectric nanogenerators. Strategic inverse design is particularly discussed in the contexts of expanding the four‐mode analytical models by physics‐informed artificial intelligence, discovering new conductive and dielectric materials, and optimizing contact interfaces. Various potential development levels of artificial intelligence‐enhanced triboelectric nanogenerators are delineated. Finally, the potential of physics‐informed artificial intelligence inverse design to propel triboelectric nanogenerators from prototypes to multifunctional intelligent systems for real‐life applications is discussed.

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  3. Abstract

    Triboelectric nanogenerators (TENGs) are devices capable of effectively harvesting electrical energy from mechanical motion prevalent around us. With the goal of developing TENGs with a small environmental footprint, herein we present the potential of using rubber and paper as biological materials for constructing triboelectric nanogenerators. We explored the performance of these TENGs with various contact material combinations, electrode sizes, and operational frequencies. The optimally configured TENG achieved a maximum open circuit output voltage of over 30 V, and a short circuit current of around 3 µA. Additionally, this optimally configured TENG was capable of charging various capacitors and achieved a maximum power output density of 21 mW/m2. This work demonstrates that biologically derived materials can be used as effective, sustainable, and low-cost contact materials for the development of triboelectric nanogenerators with minimal environmental footprint.

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    Cellulose-based materials have gained increasing attention for the development of low cost, eco-friendly technologies, and more recently, as functional materials in triboelectric nanogenerators (TENGs). However, the low output performance of cellulose-based TENGs severely restricts their versatility and employment in emerging smart building and smart city applications. Here, we report a high output performance of a commercial cellulosic material-based energy harvesting floor (CEHF). Benefiting from the significant difference in the triboelectric properties between weighing and nitrocellulose papers, high surface roughness achieved by a newly developed mechanical exfoliation method, and large overall contact area via a multilayered device structure, the CEHF (25 cm × 15 cm × 1.2 cm) exhibits excellent output performance with a maximum output voltage, current, and power peak values of 360 V, 250 μA, and 5 mW, respectively. It can be directly installed or integrated with regular flooring products to effectively convert human body movements into electricity and shows good durability and stability. Moreover, a wireless transmission sensing system that can produce a 1:1 footstep-to-signal (transmitted and received) ratio is instantaneously powered by a TENG based entirely on cellulosic materials for the first time. This work provides a feasible and effective way to utilize commercial cellulosic materials to construct self-powered wireless transmission systems for real-time sensing applications. 
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