Research ArticleALTERNATIVE ENERGY

Ultrastretchable, transparent triboelectric nanogenerator as electronic skin for biomechanical energy harvesting and tactile sensing

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Science Advances  31 May 2017:
Vol. 3, no. 5, e1700015
DOI: 10.1126/sciadv.1700015

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Abstract

Rapid advancements in stretchable and multifunctional electronics impose the challenge on corresponding power devices that they should have comparable stretchability and functionality. We report a soft skin-like triboelectric nanogenerator (STENG) that enables both biomechanical energy harvesting and tactile sensing by hybridizing elastomer and ionic hydrogel as the electrification layer and electrode, respectively. For the first time, ultrahigh stretchability (uniaxial strain, 1160%) and transparency (average transmittance, 96.2% for visible light) are achieved simultaneously for an energy-harvesting device. The soft TENG is capable of outputting alternative electricity with an instantaneous peak power density of 35 mW m−2 and driving wearable electronics (for example, an electronic watch) with energy converted from human motions, whereas the STENG is pressure-sensitive, enabling its application as artificial electronic skin for touch/pressure perception. Our work provides new opportunities for multifunctional power sources and potential applications in soft/wearable electronics.

Keywords
  • stretchable
  • transparent
  • triboelectric nanogenerator
  • electronic skin
  • hydrogel
  • Soft Electronics

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