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November 10, 2011
Zhong Lin Wang, a professor at Georgia Tech University, displays flexible charge pumps that are able to produce alternating current through the stretching and relaxing of zinc oxide wires. (Date of Image: October 2008) [See related image Here.]

More about this Image The new "flexible charge pump" generator,developed by Zhong Lin Wang, regent's professor in the School of Materials Science and Engineering and director of the Center for Nanostructure Characterization at the Georgia Institute of Technology, is the fourth generation of devices designed to produce electrical current by using the piezoelectric properties of zinc oxide structures to harvest mechanical energy from the environment. Its development was reported Nov. 9, 2008, in the advance online publication of the journal Nature Nanotechnology. "The flexible charge pump offers yet another option for converting mechanical energy into electrical energy," said Wang. "This adds to our family of very small-scale generators able to power devices used in medical sensing, environmental monitoring, defense technology and personal electronics." The new generator can produce an oscillating output voltage of up to 45 millivolts, converting nearly seven percent of the mechanical energy applied directly to the zinc oxide wires into electricity. For the future, Wang sees the family of small-scale generators enabling development of a new class self-powered wireless sensing systems. The devices could gather information, store it and transmit the data--all without an external power source. The research has been supported by the U.S. Department of Energy, the National Science Foundation, the Air Force Office of Scientific Research and the Emory-Georgia Tech Center for Cancer Nanotechnology Excellence. To learn more about this research, see the Georgia Tech news release, Flexible Charge Pump: New Small-Scale Generator Produces Alternating Current by Stretching Zinc Oxide Wires.


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