Plenary Session Featuring The Fred Kavli Distinguished Lectureship in Materials Science
MRS Postdoctoral Award Recipients Yu Jun Tan and Yang Liu

Symposium NM09: Nanogenerators and Piezotronics

Lingyun Wang, City University of Hong Kong

Poly(vinyl alcohol)/Polyethyleneimine Composite for Energy Harvesting and Self-Powered Sensing Applications

Written by Arun Kumar

A major challenge within the materials field is to maximize the electric charge of the triboelectrification layer to improve the efficiency of the triboelectric nanogenerator (TENG). Recently, to cater to the growing demands of wearable electronics, the TENG also needs to comprise multifunctional properties such as optical transparency, flexibility, and stretchability. Lingyun Wang from the City University of Hong Kong describes how the poly(vinyl alcohol)/polyethyleneimine (PVA/PEI) composite can be regulated to provide good ionic conductivity, flexibility, and mechanical properties to be useful as an efficient tribo-material and current collector for TENG applications.

She says that by regulating the crosslinking degree of the PVA/PEI and the surface morphology at different preparation temperatures, a fully transparent PVA/PEI composite film can be achieved. The highly flexible, transparent PVA/PEI film is sandwiched between two PDMS layers to use as an ionic current collector. The dielectric constant of the device can be enhanced by adding gold nanoparticles into the polymer matrix which can now electrostatically interact with the polymeric amide groups and accumulate electric charges. Next, ionic conductivity in the device was regulated by modifying the ratio of PEI in the composite. By injecting the composite into a template design, a soft, stretchable, and metal electrode-free triboelectric tactile sensor array is achieved which integrates several tribo-material and current collector properties.

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