Nanoscale Piezoelectric Energy Harvesting

Report No. ARL-TR-5229
Authors: Stephen J. Kilpatrick and Ashley D. Mason
Date/Pages: June 2010; 16 pages
Abstract: The Sensors and Electron Devices Directorate (SEDD) has initiated an investigation studying nanoscale harvesting elements to expand the scope of piezoelectric research. The piezoelectric characteristics of zinc oxide (ZnO) nanowires are explored for potential use as a nanogenerator. A mechanical deformation imposed on a nanowire translates into a piezoelectric potential generated across the material. The proposed approach involves transferring grown ZnO nanowires from growth substrates to a flexible platform for mechanically deforming the wires. Due to the extremely small dimensions of the ZnO nanowires, if the mechanical deformation does not generate sufficient voltage to meet application requirements, the integration of a storage element may become necessary. We optimized the device fabrication and characterization methods to evaluate a single ZnO nanowire. The results gleaned from the initial experiments should aid the search for a viable power generation method for nanoscale devices, such as Soldier-borne and vehicle-mounted sensors.
Distribution: Approved for public release
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Last Update / Reviewed: June 1, 2010