Monday, June 15, 2009

Tiny Generator Powered by Sunlight and Motion

Take a thin-film solar cell embedded with dye-coated zinc oxide nanowires. Put it on a slice of silicon.

On the other side of the slice, add a nanoscale generator that uses zinc oxide nanowires to turn any kind of motion into electricity. This generator produces electricity using the same principle that a record player uses to convert vibrations in a vinyl LP's groove into electrical impulses.

The result is a tool that harvests energy from sunlight or motion.

Such a tool was recently devised by researchers from the Georgia Institute of Technology, or Georgia Tech as it is affectionately called.

Since the generator can make electricity from any kind of movement -- including biological -- it would thrive near a throbbing environment like a jet engine. Sure enough, according to Zhong Lin Wang, the inventor of the nanoscale generator, these devices would likely be used first in military aircraft brimming with sensors.

Down the road, nanogenerators could eliminate the need for batteries in implantable medical sensors. They would create electricity from simple human motion such as walking, typing or the rise and fall of a person's chest with every breath.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Copyright 2009- each blog post's respective author. All rights reserved.