A wearable thermoelectric generator fabricated on a glass fabric
The conversion of body heat into electrical energy using a thermoelectric (TE) power generator is useful for wearable self-powered mobile electronic systems such as medical sensors or smart watches. We herein demonstrate a glass fabric-based flexible TE generator using a screen printing technique and the self-sustaining structure of a TE device without top and bottom substrates. With this technique it is possible to make the device thin (∼500 μm), lightweight (∼0.13 g cm−2), and flexible. In addition, the developed TE generator achieved an unprecedentedly large output power density which is several tens of times higher than that of flexible TE generators reported to date. The developed TE generator shows an allowable bending radius of as low as 20 mm and no change in performance by repeated bending for 120 cycles. This work can expedite the development of wearable self-powered mobile devices.