Piezoelectric Nanowires

New work by a nanotechnology research team in Korea has now demonstrated that it is possible to use sound as a power source to drive nanogenerators based on piezoelectric nanowires. We are surrounded by sound – speech, noise or music – in our everyday life say Dr. Jong Min Kim, Director of Frontier Research Lab, Samsung Advanced Institute of Technology (SAIT) and Sang-Woo Kim, a professor in the School of Advanced Materials Science & Engineering at Sungkyunkwan University., but sound is a form of mechanical energy and could potentially be used as a source for piezoelectric power generation. There should be a way to turn sound energy from speech, music or noise into electrical power. This has motivated us to realize power generation using sound-driven nanogenerators based on piezoelectric zinc oxide nanowires. Jong Min Kim and his collaborators report the first power-generating performance of sound-driven nanogenerators based on piezoelectric nanomaterials. The team worked with zinc oxide nanowires, a piezoelectric nanomaterial that leads to a much more sensitively response toward sound energy. The sound wave was used to vibrate the top contact electrode (see schematic below), which generated electric potential through the vertically well-aligned zinc oxide nanowires. When sound with an intensity of 100 dB was applied to the nanogenerator, an AC output voltage of about 50 mV was obtained from the nanogenerator. Applications for sound-driven power generators are numerous. Sound power could be used for cellular phones that can be charged during conversations and sound-insulating walls near highways that generate electricity from the sound of passing vehicles.


Original sources:
http://www.nanowerk.com/spotlight/spotid=18171.php (02/2013)
http://displaydaily.com/2011/05/13/sounds-like-a-good-idea/ (05/2011)