Flexible carbon dots composite paper for electricity generation from water vapor absorption†
Harvesting energy from environmental moisture is a promising technique for sustainable electric power resource. Herein, a new scalable fabrication method for flexible moisture-electric energy transformation device by dispersing or direct printing carbon dots (CDs) on paper is reported. A facile strategy for self-establishing ionic gradient on both sides of the device by constructing an asymmetric structure (the side of device is encapsulated) is proposed, which avoids prior processing of the materials for building asymmetric functional groups. The carboxyl groups on CDs near the open side of the device ionize more protons than that near the closed side, resulting in a potential drop across the device due to the concentration difference of the released protons on the two sides. The device can produce a sustainable voltage of −40 mV for over 100 min at a fixed humidity value. In addition, the device responds to direct touching of a finger or human exhalation, thus indicating its great potential for applications in electronic skins and humidity sensors.