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Flexible ZnO–Cellulose Nanocomposite for Multisource Energy Conversion

Authors

  • Ashavani Kumar,

    1. Science and Technology Division, Oceanit Laboratories, Honolulu, HI 96826, USA
    Current affiliation:
    1. These authors contributed equally to this work.
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  • Hemtej Gullapalli,

    1. Department of Mechanical Engineering and Materials Science, Rice University, Houston, TX 77005, USA
    Current affiliation:
    1. These authors contributed equally to this work.
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  • Kaushik Balakrishnan,

    1. Department of Mechanical Engineering and Materials Science, Rice University, Houston, TX 77005, USA
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  • Andres Botello-Mendez,

    1. Laboratory for Nanoscience and Nanotechnology Research (LINAN) and Advanced Materials Department, IPICYT, Camino a la Presa San José 2055, Col. Lomas 4a sección, San Luis Potosí 78216, México
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  • Robert Vajtai,

    1. Department of Mechanical Engineering and Materials Science, Rice University, Houston, TX 77005, USA
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  • Mauricio Terrones,

    1. Department of Physics, Pennsylvania State University, University Park, PA 16802, USA
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  • Pulickel M. Ajayan

    Corresponding author
    1. Department of Mechanical Engineering and Materials Science, Rice University, Houston, TX 77005, USA
    • Department of Mechanical Engineering and Materials Science, Rice University, Houston, TX 77005, USA.
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Abstract

Materials with the ability to harness multiple sources of energy from the ambient environment could lead to new types of energy-harvesting systems. It is demonstrated that nanocomposite films consisting of zinc oxide nanostructures embedded in a common paper matrix can be directly used as energy-conversion devices to transform mechanical and thermal energies to electric power. These mechanically robust and flexible devices can be fabricated over large areas and are capable of producing an output voltage and power up to 80 mV and 50 nW cm−2, respectively. Furthermore, it is shown that by integrating a certain number of devices (in series and parallel) the output voltage and the concomitant output power can be significantly increased. Also, the output voltage and power can be enhanced by scaling the size of the device. This multisource energy-harvesting system based on ZnO nanostructures embedded in a flexible paper matrix provides a simplified and cost-effective platform for capturing trace amounts of energy for practical applications.

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