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Title: Hydrogel Ionic Diodes toward Harvesting Ultralow‐Frequency Mechanical Energy

Energy harvesting from human motion is regarded as a promising protocol for powering portable electronics, biomedical devices, and smart objects of the Internet of things. However, state‐of‐the‐art mechanical‐energy‐harvesting devices generally operate at frequencies (>10 Hz) well beyond human activity frequencies. Here, a hydrogel ionic diode formed by the layered structures of anionic and cationic ionomers in hydrogels is presented. As confirmed by finite element analysis, the underlying mechanism of the hydrogel ionic diode involves the formation of the depletion region by mobile cations and anions and the subsequent increase of the built‐in potential across the depletion region in response to mechanical pressure. Owing to the enhanced ionic rectification ratio by the embedded carbon nanotube and silver nanowire electrodes, the hydrogel ionic diode exhibits a power density of5 mW cm−2and a charge density of4 mC cm−2at 0.01 Hz, outperforming the current energy‐harvesting devices by several orders of magnitude. The applications of the self‐powered hydrogel ionic diode to tactile sensing, pressure imaging, and touchpads are demonstrated, with sensing limitation is as low as 0.01 kPa. This work is expected to open up new opportunities for ionic‐current‐based ionotronics in electronics and energy devices.

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Author(s) / Creator(s):
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Publisher / Repository:
Wiley Blackwell (John Wiley & Sons)
Date Published:
Journal Name:
Advanced Materials
Medium: X
Sponsoring Org:
National Science Foundation
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  2. Abstract

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Fig. 3(b) shows the tunneling probability T according to the Kane two-band model in the three materials, In0.53Ga0.47As, GaAs, and GaN, following our observation of a similar electroluminescence mechanism in GaN/AlN RTDs (due to strong polarization field of wurtzite structures) [8]. The expression is Tinter = (2/9)∙exp[(-2 ∙Ug 2 ∙me)/(2h∙P∙E)], where Ug is the bandgap energy, P is the valence-to-conduction-band momentum matrix element, and E is the electric field. Values for the highest calculated internal E fields for the InGaAs and GaN are also shown, indicating that Tinter in those structures approaches values of ~10-5. As shown, a GaAs RTD would require an internal field of ~6×105 V/cm, which is rarely realized in standard GaAs RTDs, perhaps explaining why there have been few if any reports of room-temperature electroluminescence in the GaAs devices. [1] E.R. Brown,et al., Appl. Phys. Lett., vol. 58, 2291, 1991. [5] S. Sze, Physics of Semiconductor Devices, 2nd Ed. 12.2.1 (Wiley, 1981). [2] M. Feiginov et al., Appl. Phys. Lett., 99, 233506, 2011. [6] L. Coldren, Diode Lasers and Photonic Integrated Circuits, (Wiley, 1995). [3] Y. Nishida et al., Nature Sci. Reports, 9, 18125, 2019. [7] E.O. Kane, J. of Appl. Phy 32, 83 (1961). [4] P. Fakhimi, et al., 2019 DRC Conference Digest. [8] T. Growden, et al., Nature Light: Science & Applications 7, 17150 (2018). [5] S. Sze, Physics of Semiconductor Devices, 2nd Ed. 12.2.1 (Wiley, 1981). [6] L. Coldren, Diode Lasers and Photonic Integrated Circuits, (Wiley, 1995). [7] E.O. Kane, J. of Appl. Phy 32, 83 (1961). [8] T. Growden, et al., Nature Light: Science & Applications 7, 17150 (2018). 
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  5. Abstract

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