Triboelectric-generator-driven pulse electrodeposition for micropatterning

Nano Lett. 2012 Sep 12;12(9):4960-5. doi: 10.1021/nl302560k. Epub 2012 Aug 15.


By converting ambient energy into electricity, energy harvesting is capable of at least offsetting, or even replacing, the reliance of small portable electronics on traditional power supplies, such as batteries. Here we demonstrate a novel and simple generator with extremely low cost for efficiently harvesting mechanical energy that is typically present in the form of vibrations and random displacements/deformation. Owing to the coupling of contact charging and electrostatic induction, electric generation was achieved with a cycled process of contact and separation between two polymer films. A detailed theory is developed for understanding the proposed mechanism. The instantaneous electric power density reached as high as 31.2 mW/cm(3) at a maximum open circuit voltage of 110 V. Furthermore, the generator was successfully used without electric storage as a direct power source for pulse electrodeposition (PED) of micro/nanocrystalline silver structure. The cathodic current efficiency reached up to 86.6%. Not only does this work present a new type of generator that is featured by simple fabrication, large electric output, excellent robustness, and extremely low cost, but also extends the application of energy-harvesting technology to the field of electrochemistry with further utilizations including, but not limited to, pollutant degradation, corrosion protection, and water splitting.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Crystallization / methods*
  • Electroplating / methods*
  • Macromolecular Substances / chemistry
  • Macromolecular Substances / radiation effects
  • Materials Testing
  • Metal Nanoparticles / chemistry*
  • Metal Nanoparticles / radiation effects
  • Metal Nanoparticles / ultrastructure*
  • Molecular Conformation / radiation effects
  • Molecular Imprinting / methods*
  • Particle Size
  • Silver / chemistry*
  • Surface Properties / radiation effects


  • Macromolecular Substances
  • Silver