Piezoelectric Ribbons Printed Onto Rubber for Flexible Energy Conversion

Nano Lett. 2010 Feb 10;10(2):524-8. doi: 10.1021/nl903377u.


The development of a method for integrating highly efficient energy conversion materials onto stretchable, biocompatible rubbers could yield breakthroughs in implantable or wearable energy harvesting systems. Being electromechanically coupled, piezoelectric crystals represent a particularly interesting subset of smart materials that function as sensors/actuators, bioMEMS devices, and energy converters. Yet, the crystallization of these materials generally requires high temperatures for maximally efficient performance, rendering them incompatible with temperature-sensitive plastics and rubbers. Here, we overcome these limitations by presenting a scalable and parallel process for transferring crystalline piezoelectric nanothick ribbons of lead zirconate titanate from host substrates onto flexible rubbers over macroscopic areas. Fundamental characterization of the ribbons by piezo-force microscopy indicates that their electromechanical energy conversion metrics are among the highest reported on a flexible medium. The excellent performance of the piezo-ribbon assemblies coupled with stretchable, biocompatible rubber may enable a host of exciting avenues in fundamental research and novel applications.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Biocompatible Materials
  • Ceramics / chemistry
  • Crystallization
  • Electricity
  • Equipment Design
  • Lead / chemistry
  • Materials Testing
  • Micro-Electrical-Mechanical Systems*
  • Microscopy / methods
  • Nanostructures / chemistry*
  • Nanotechnology / methods*
  • Plastics
  • Rubber / chemistry*
  • Temperature
  • Titanium / chemistry
  • Zirconium / chemistry


  • Biocompatible Materials
  • Plastics
  • lead titanate zirconate
  • Lead
  • Rubber
  • Zirconium
  • Titanium