5. Stretchable Piezoelectric Nanoribbons for Biocompatible Energy Harvesting

  1. Prof. Takao Someya
  1. Yi Qi1,
  2. Thanh D. Nguyen1,
  3. Prashant K. Purohit2 and
  4. Michael C. McAlpine1

Published Online: 28 DEC 2012

DOI: 10.1002/9783527646982.ch5

Stretchable Electronics

Stretchable Electronics

How to Cite

Qi, Y., Nguyen, T. D., Purohit, P. K. and McAlpine, M. C. (2012) Stretchable Piezoelectric Nanoribbons for Biocompatible Energy Harvesting, in Stretchable Electronics (ed T. Someya), Wiley-VCH Verlag GmbH & Co. KGaA, Weinheim, Germany. doi: 10.1002/9783527646982.ch5

Editor Information

  1. The University of Tokyo, Department of Electrical Engineering and Information Systems, 7-3-1 Hongo, Bunkyo-ku, Tokyo 113-8656, Japan

Author Information

  1. 1

    Princeton University, Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering, Engineering Quad, Olden Street, Princeton, NJ 08544, USA

  2. 2

    University of Pennsylvania, Department of Mechanical Engineering and Applied Mechanics, 220 South 33rd Street, Philadelphia, PA 19104-6391, USA

Publication History

  1. Published Online: 28 DEC 2012
  2. Published Print: 19 DEC 2012

ISBN Information

Print ISBN: 9783527329786

Online ISBN: 9783527646982



  • nanoscale piezoelectrics;
  • biomechanical energy harvesting;
  • piezoelectric nanoribbons;
  • bioelectromechanical sensors


The development of a method for integrating highly efficient energy conversion materials onto flexible, stretchable, and biocompatible substrates could yield breakthroughs in implantable or wearable energy harvesting systems. Being electromechanically coupled, piezoelectric crystals represent a particularly interesting subset of smart materials which can function as sensors, actuators, bioMEMS devices, and energy converters. Yet, the most efficient piezoelectrics are rigid and brittle in nature, while the crystallization of these materials generally requires high temperatures for maximal performance. These inherent material properties render corresponding devices incompatible with temperature-sensitive soft materials such as plastic, rubber, and tissue. Nanotechnology provides a route for overcoming these dichotomies, by altering the mechanics of materials while simultaneously improving their performance. Here, we present a scalable and parallel route for interfacing crystalline piezoelectric nanoribbons of lead zirconate titanate (PZT) with stretchable rubbers over macroscopic areas. The nanoribbons are fabricated via the recently developed PENCiL approach, which allows for controllable, location-determinant PZT nanoribbon arrays hierarchically patterned over wafer scales. Fundamental characterization of the ribbons by piezoresponse force microscopy indicates that their electromechanical energy conversion metrics are among the highest reported on a flexible medium and enhanced by the nanoscale mechanics of the hybrid system. Finally, integration into energy harvesting devices reveals the ability to generate power from bodily motion such as finger tapping. The excellent performance of the piezo-ribbon assemblies coupled with stretchable, biocompatible rubber may enable exciting avenues in fundamental research and novel applications.