Nanogenerators for self-powering nanosystems and piezotronics for smart MEMS/NEMS

Zhong Lin Wang

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution

6 Scopus citations


Two new fields are introduced to MEMS/NEMS: a nanogenerator that harvests mechanical energy for powering nanosystems, and strained induced piezotronics for smart MEMS. Fundamentally, due to the polarization of ions in a crystal that has non-central symmetry, such as ZnO, GaN and InN, a piezoelectric potential (piezopotential) is created in the crystal by applying a stress. The principle of harvesting irregular mechanical energy by the nanogenerator relies on the piezopotenital driven transient flow of electrons in external load, which can be resulted from body motion, muscle stretching, breathing, tiny mechanical vibration/disturbance, sonic wave etc. As of today, a gentle straining can output 1-3 V at an instant output power of ∼2 μW from an integrated nanogenerator of a very thin sheet of 1 cm2 in size. This technology has the potential applications for power MEMS/NEMS that requires a power in the μW to mW range. Furthermore, we have replaced the externally applied gate voltage to a CMOS field effect transistor by the strain induced piezopotential as a "gate" voltage to tune/control the charge transport from source to drain. The devices fabricated by this principle are called piezotronics, with applications in strain/force/pressure triggered/controlled electronic devices, sensors and logic units.
Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publication2011 IEEE 24th International Conference on Micro Electro Mechanical Systems
PublisherInstitute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE)
Number of pages6
ISBN (Print)9781424496327
StatePublished - Jan 2011
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

KAUST Repository Item: Exported on 2020-10-01
Acknowledgements: Thanks to the support from DARPA, BES DOE, NIH,NSF, Airforce, NASA, KAUST and WPI (NIMS). Thanksto my prior and current group members and collaboratorsfor their contributions.
This publication acknowledges KAUST support, but has no KAUST affiliated authors.


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