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KAIST Made Great Improvements of Nanogenerator Power Efficiency
The energy efficiency of a piezoelectric nanogenerator developed by KAIST has increased by almost 40 times, one step closer toward the commercialization of flexible energy harvesters that can supply power infinitely to wearable, implantable electronic devices. NANOGENERATORS are innovative self-powered energy harvesters that convert kinetic energy created from vibrational and mechanical sources into electrical power, removing the need of external circuits or batteries for electronic devices. This innovation is vital in realizing sustainable energy generation in isolated, inaccessible, or indoor environments and even in the human body. Nanogenerators, a flexible and lightweight energy harvester on a plastic substrate, can scavenge energy from the extremely tiny movements of natural resources and human body such as wind, water flow, heartbeats, and diaphragm and respiration activities to generate electrical signals. The generators are not only self-powered, flexible devices but also can provide permanent power sources to implantable biomedical devices, including cardiac pacemakers and deep brain stimulators. However, poor energy efficiency and a complex fabrication process have posed challenges to the commercialization of nanogenerators. Keon Jae Lee, Associate Professor of Materials Science and Engineering at KAIST, and his colleagues have recently proposed a solution by developing a robust technique to transfer a high-quality piezoelectric thin film from bulk sapphire substrates to plastic substrates using laser lift-off (LLO). Applying the inorganic-based laser lift-off (LLO) process, the research team produced a large-area PZT thin film nanogenerators on flexible substrates (2cm x 2cm). “We were able to convert a high-output performance of ~250 V from the slight mechanical deformation of a single thin plastic substrate. Such output power is just enough to turn on 100 LED lights,” Keon Jae Lee explained. The self-powered nanogenerators can also work with finger and foot motions. For example, under the irregular and slight bending motions of a human finger, the measured current signals had a high electric power of ~8.7 μA. In addition, the piezoelectric nanogenerator has world-record power conversion efficiency, almost 40 times higher than previously reported similar research results, solving the drawbacks related to the fabrication complexity and low energy efficiency. Lee further commented, “Building on this concept, it is highly expected that tiny mechanical motions, including human body movements of muscle contraction and relaxation, can be readily converted into electrical energy and, furthermore, acted as eternal power sources.” The research team is currently studying a method to build three-dimensional stacking of flexible piezoelectric thin films to enhance output power, as well as conducting a clinical experiment with a flexible nanogenerator. This research result, entitled “Highly-efficient, Flexible Piezoelectric PZT Thin Film Nanogenerator on Plastic Substrates,” was published as the cover article of the April issue of Advanced Materials. (http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/adma.201305659/abstract) YouTube Link: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=G_Fny7Xb9ig Over 100 LEDs operated by self-powered flexible piezoelectric thin film nanogenerator Flexible PZT thin film nanogenerator using inorganic-based laser lift-off process Photograph of large-area PZT thin film nanogenerator (3.5cm × 3.5cm) on a curved glass tube and 105 commercial LEDs operated by self-powered flexible piezoelectric energy harvester
Professor Yoon Dong Ki becomes first Korean to Receive the Michi Nakata Prize
Professor Yoon Dong Ki (Graduate School of Nano Science and Technology) became the first Korean to receive the Michi Nakata Prize from the International Liquid Crystal Society. The Awards Ceremony was held on the 23rd of August in Mainz, Germany in the 24th Annual International Liquid Crystal Conference. The Michi Nakata Prize was initiated in 2008 and is rewarded every two years to a young scientist that made a ground breaking discovery or experimental result in the field of liquid crystal. Professor Yoon is the first Korean recipient of the Michi Nakata Prize. Professor Yoon is the founder of the patterning field that utilizes the defect structure formed by smectic displays. He succeeded in large scale patterning complex chiral nano structures that make up bent-core molecules. Professor Yoon’s experimental accomplishment was published in the Advanced Materials magazine and the Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. U.S.A. and also as the cover dissertation of Liquid Crystals magazine. Professor Yoon is currently working on Three Dimensional Nano Patterning of Supermolecular Liquid Crystal and is part of the World Class University organization.
Artificial Photosynthesis Technology Developed using Solar Cell Material
Humanity is facing global warming and the exhaustion of fossil fuel. In order to remedy these problems, efforts to produce fuel without the production of carbon dioxide using solar energy continues constantly. KAIST’s Professor Park Chan Beom and Professor Ryu Jeong Ki’s research teams of the department of Material Science and Engineering has developed an artificial photosynthesis system that mimics the photosynthesis in nature using solar cell technology. The development of the technology is sure to pave the way to ‘Eco-Friendly Green Biological Process’. Photosynthesis is the process by which a biological entity produces chemical products like carbohydrates using physical and chemical reactions using solar energy as its energy source. Professor Park’s team was able to develop the artificial photosynthesis technology with a biological catalyst as its basis. The result of the experiment was published in ‘Advanced Materials’ magazine on the 26th of April edition and has been patented.
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