High performance triboelectric nanogenerators with aligned carbon nanotubes
As the essential element of a triboelectric nanogenerator (TENG), friction layers play key roles that determine the device performance, which can be enhanced by material selection and surface modification. In this work, we have embedded aligned carbon nanotubes (CNTs) on the polydimethylsiloxane (PDMS) surface as the effective dielectric layer to donate electrons. This layer not only increases the electron generation for the output, but also shows notable stretchability. The length and the properties of the aligned CNTs can be controlled precisely. Using the 40 μm CNT as an example, the fabricated CNT–PDMS TENG shows an output voltage of 150 V and a current density of 60 mA m−2, which are 250% and 300% enhancement compared to the TENG using directly doped PDMS/multiwall carbon nanotubes, respectively. The maximum power density of this TENG reaches 4.62 W m−2 at an external load of 30 MΩ. The TENG has demonstrated superior stability during cyclic measurement of over 12000 cycles. Besides, the aligned CNT–PDMS film shows superhydrophobicity (154°) and good sheet resistance of 280 Ω sq−1. This stretchable aligned CNT–PDMS film can be universally utilized as a positive triboelectric layer pairing with polymeric materials such as polyethylene terephthalate, polyimide, PDMS and polytetrafluoroethylene for TENGs. This work provides an effective method of structure design for flexible and stretchable nanogenerators.