Wearable high-dielectric-constant polymers with core–shell liquid metal inclusions for biomechanical energy harvesting and a self-powered user interface†
Deformable energy devices capable of efficiently scavenging ubiquitous mechanical signals enable the realization of self-powered wearable electronic systems for emerging human-integrated technologies. Triboelectric nanogenerators (TENGs) utilizing soft polymers with embedded additives and engineered dielectric properties emerge as ideal candidates for such applications. However, the use of solid filler materials in the state-of-the-art TENGs limits the devices' mechanical deformability and long-term durability. The current structural design for TENGs faces the dilemma where the enhanced dielectric constant of the TENG's contact layer leads to an undesirable saturation of the surface charge density. Here, we present a novel scheme to address the above issues, by exploring a liquid-metal-inclusion based TENG (LMI-TENG) where inherently deformable core–shell LMIs are incorporated into wearable high-dielectric-constant polymers. Through a holistic approach integrating theoretical and experimental efforts, we identified the parameter space for designing an LMI-TENG with co-optimized output and mechanical deformability. As a proof of concept, we demonstrated an LMI-TENG based wireless media control system for a self-powered user interface. The device architecture and design scheme presented here provide a promising solution towards the realization of self-powered human-integrated technologies.
- This article is part of the themed collection: 2019 Journal of Materials Chemistry A HOT Papers