From: Vanderbilt University
Published July 21, 2017 02:36 PM

Ultrathin device harvests electricity from human motion

Imagine slipping into a jacket, shirt or skirt that powers your cell phone, fitness tracker and other personal electronic devices as you walk, wave and even when you are sitting down.

A new, ultrathin energy harvesting system developed at Vanderbilt University’s Nanomaterials and Energy Devices Laboratory has the potential to do just that. Based on battery technology and made from layers of black phosphorus that are only a few atoms thick, the new device generates small amounts of electricity when it is bent or pressed even at the extremely low frequencies characteristic of human motion.

“In the future, I expect that we will all become charging depots for our personal devices by pulling energy directly from our motions and the environment,” said Assistant Professor of Mechanical Engineering Cary Pint, who directed the research.

The new energy harvesting system is described in a paper titled “Ultralow Frequency Electrochemical Mechanical Strain Energy Harvester using 2D Black Phosphorus Nanosheets” published Jul. 21 online by the journal ACS Energy Letters.

Read more at Vanderbilt University

Image: Graduate student Kathleen Moyer holds up the guts of the ultrathin energy harvesting device in a glove box. It is so thin it can be embedded in fabric. (John Russell / Vanderbilt)

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