Research ArticleAPPLIED SCIENCES AND ENGINEERING

Robust nanogenerators based on graft copolymers via control of dielectrics for remarkable output power enhancement

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Science Advances  26 May 2017:
Vol. 3, no. 5, e1602902
DOI: 10.1126/sciadv.1602902

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Abstract

A robust nanogenerator based on poly(tert-butyl acrylate) (PtBA)–grafted polyvinylidene difluoride (PVDF) copolymers via dielectric constant control through an atom-transfer radical polymerization technique, which can markedly increase the output power, is demonstrated. The copolymer is mainly composed of α phases with enhanced dipole moments due to the π-bonding and polar characteristics of the ester functional groups in the PtBA, resulting in the increase of dielectric constant values by approximately twice, supported by Kelvin probe force microscopy measurements. This increase in the dielectric constant significantly increased the density of the charges that can be accumulated on the copolymer during physical contact. The nanogenerator generates output signals of 105 V and 25 μA/cm2, a 20-fold enhancement in output power, compared to pristine PVDF–based nanogenerator after tuning the surface potential using a poling method. The markedly enhanced output performance is quite stable and reliable in harsh mechanical environments due to the high flexibility of the films. On the basis of these results, a much faster charging characteristic is demonstrated in this study.

Keywords
  • robust nanogenerator
  • PtBA-grafted PVDF
  • effective dielectric
  • triboelectric nanogenerator
  • remarkably enhanced output power

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