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Bruce White

Nanogenerators for self-powered systems and piezotronics for artificial intelligence

Zhong Lin Wang

School of Materials Science and Engineering, Georgia Institute of Technology, Atlanta USA
Beijing Institute of Nanoenergy and Nanosystems, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing, China

Developing wireless nanodevices and nanosystems is of critical importance for sensing, medical science, environmental/infrastructure monitoring, defense technology and even personal electronics. It is highly desirable for wireless devices to be self-powered without using battery. Nanogenerators (NGs) have been developed based on piezoelectric, trioboelectric and pyroelectric effects, aiming at building self-sufficient power sources for mico/nano-systems. The output of the nanogenerators now is high enough to drive a wireless sensor system and charge a battery for a cell phone, and they are becoming a vital technology for sustainable, independent and maintenance free operation of micro/nano-systems and mobile/portable electronics. An energy conversion efficiency of 55% and an output power density of 500 W/m2 have been demonstrated. This technology is now not only capable of driving portable electronics, but also has the potential for harvesting wind and ocean wave energy for large-scale power application. This talk will focus on the updated progress in NGs.

For Wurtzite and zinc blend structures that have non-central symmetry, such as ZnO, GaN and InN, a piezoelectric potential (piezopotential) is created in the crystal by applying a strain. Such piezopotential can serve as a "gate" voltage that can effectively tune/control the charge transport across an interface/junction; electronics fabricated based on such a mechanism is coined as piezotronics, with applications in force/pressure triggered/controlled electronic devices, sensors, logic units and memory. By using the piezotronic effect, we show that the optoelectronc devices fabricated using wurtzite materials can have superior performance as solar cell, photon detector and light emitting diode. Piezotronics is likely to serve as a "mechanosensation" for directly interfacing biomechanical action with silicon based technology and active flexible electronics. This lecture will focus on the updated progress in the field and its expansion to 2D materials.


  • Z.L. Wang "Triboelectric Nanogenerators as New Energy Technology for Self-Powered Systems and as Active Mechanical and Chemical Sensors", ACS Nano 7 (2013) 9533-9557.
  • Z.L. Wang, L. Lin, J. Chen. S.M. Niu, Y.L. Zi "Triboelectric Nanogenerators", Springer, 2016. http://www.springer.com/us/book/9783319400389
  • Zhong Lin Wang,* Jun Chen, Long Lin "Progress in triboelectric nanogenertors as new energy technology and self-powered sensors" (invited review), Energy & Environmental Sci, 8 (2015) 2250-2282.
  • W.Z. Wu+, X.N. Wen+, Z.L. Wang* "Pixel-addressable matrix of vertical-nanowire piezotronic transistors for active/adaptive tactile imaging", Science, 340 (2013) 952-957.
  • C.F. Pan, L. Dong, G. Zhu, S. Niu, R. Yu, Q. Yang, Y. Liu, Z.L. Wang* "Micrometer-resolution electroluminescence parallel-imaging of pressure distribution using piezoelectric nanowire-LED array", Nature Photonics, 7 (2013) 752-758.
  • W.Z. Wu, L. Wang, Y.L. Li, F. Zhang, L. Lin, S. Niu, D. Chenet, X. Zhang, Y. Hao, T.F. Heinz, J. Hone*, and Z.L. Wang* "Piezoelectricity of single-atomic-layer MoS2 for energy conversion and piezotronics", Nature, 514 (2014) 470-474.
  • W.Z. Wu and Z.L. Wang* "Piezotronics and piezo-phototronics for smart adaptive electronics and optoelectronics", Nature Review Materials, 1 (2016) 16031 doi:10.1038/natrevmats.2016.31.
About speaker:

Dr. Zhong Lin (ZL) Wang received his PhD from Arizona State University in 1987. He now is the Hightower Chair in Materials Science and Engineering and Regents' Professor at Georgia Tech, and Director and Chief Scientist, Beijing Institute of Nanoenergy and Nanosystems, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing. Dr. Wang has made original and innovative contributions to the synthesis, discovery, characterization and understanding of fundamental physical properties of oxide nanobelts and nanowires, as well as applications of nanowires in energy sciences, electronics, optoelectronics and biological science. His discovery and breakthroughs in developing nanogenerators establish the principle and technological road map for harvesting mechanical energy from environment and biological systems for powering a personal electronics. His research on self-powered nanosystems has inspired the worldwide effort in academia and industry for studying energy for micro-nano-systems, which is now a distinct disciplinary in energy research and future sensor networks. He coined and pioneered the field of piezotronics and piezo-phototronics by introducing piezoelectric potential gated charge transport process in fabricating new electronic and optoelectronic devices. This breakthrough by redesign CMOS transistor has important applications in smart MEMS/NEMS, nanorobotics, human-electronics interface and sensors. Dr. Wang's publications have been cited for over 100,000 times. The H-index of his citations is 158. Dr. Wang was elected as a foreign member of the Chinese Academy of Sciences in 2009, member of European Academy of Sciences in 2002, fellow of American Physical Society in 2005, fellow of AAAS in 2006, fellow of Materials Research Society in 2008, fellow of Microscopy Society of America in 2010, and fellow of the World Innovation Foundation in 2002. He received 2016 Outstanding Achievement in Research Innovation award, Georgia Tech; 2016 Distinguished Scientist Award from (US) Southeastern Universities Research Association; 2015 Thomas Router Citation Laureate in Physics; 2014 Distinguished Professor Award (Highest faculty honor at Georgia Tech); 2014 World Technology Prize in Materials; 2014 the James C. McGroddy Prize for New Materials from America Physical Society, 2013 ACS Nano Lectureship award, 2012 Edward Orton Memorial Lecture Award and 2009 Purdy Award from American Ceramic Society, 2011 MRS Medal from the Materials Research Society, 1999 Burton Medal from Microscopy Society of America. Details can be found at: http://www.nanoscience.gatech.edu

For program, contact one of the organizers: For local information, contact:
Dr. Hao Zeng – haozeng@buffalo.edu
Dr. Peihong Zhang – pzhang3@buffalo.edu
Dr. Uttam Singisetti - uttamsin@buffalo.edu
Ms. Tracy Gasinsky - tracygas@buffalo.edu
Phone: 716-645-3629
Department of Physics, Buffalo, NY