SciLifeLab The Svedberg seminar series, Zhong Lin Wang, Self-powered systems

Monday August 21

Zhong Lin Wang

School of Materials Science and Engineering, Georgia Institute of Technology, Atlanta, Georgia USA
Beijing Institute of Nanoenergy and Nanosystems, Chinese Academy of Sciences, China.

Dr. Zhong Lin (ZL) Wang received his PhD from the Physics Department of Arizona State University in 1987. He is the Hightower Chair in Materials Science and Engineering and Regents’ Professor at Georgia Tech, and Founding Director and Chief Scientist at Beijing Institute of Nanoenergy and Nanosystems, Chinese Academy of Sciences. His research on self-powered nanosystems has inspired the worldwide effort in academia and industry for studying energy for micro-nano-systems, which is now a distinct disciplinary in energy research and future sensor networks. He has received numerous prestigious awards and published more than 1200 peer reviewed journal articles.

From Maxwell’s displacement current to nanogenerator driven self-powered systems and blue energy

Self-powered system is a system that can sustainably operate without an external power supply for sensing, detection, data processing and data transmission. Nanogenerators (NG) were first developed for self-powered systems based on piezoelectric effect and triboelectrification effect for converting tiny mechanical energy into electricity, which have applications in internet of things, environmental/infrastructural monitoring, medical science, environmental science and security. Here, we first present the fundamental theory of the NGs starting from the Maxwell equations. In the Maxwell’s displacement current, the term E=dE/dt gives the birth of electromagnetic wave, which is the foundation of wireless communication, radar and later the information technology. Our study indicates that, owing to the presence of surface polarization charges present on the surfaces of the dielectric media in NG, an additional term dP(S)/dt should be added in the Maxwell’s displacement current, which is the output electric current of the NG. Therefore, our NGs are the applications of Maxwell’s displacement current in energy and sensors. NGs have three major application fields: micro/nano-power source, self-powered sensors and blue energy. We will present the applications of the NGs for harvesting all kind mechanical energy that is available but wasted in our daily life, such as human motion, walking, vibration, mechanical triggering, rotating tire, wind, flowing water and more. Then, we will illustrate the networks based on triboelectric NGs for harvesting ocean water wave energy, for exploring its possibility as a sustainable large-scale power supply. Lastly, we will show that NGs as self-powered sensors for actively detecting the static and dynamic processes arising from mechanical agitation using the voltage and current output signals.

(1)  L. Wang, Materials Today, 20 (2017) 74-82.

(2) “Nanogenerators for Self-Powered Devices and Systems”, by Z.L. Wang, published by Georgia Institute of Technology (first book for free online down load):

(3) L. Wang, L. Lin, J. Chen. S.M. Niu, Y.L. Zi “Triboelectric Nanogenerators”, Springer, 2016.

(4) L. Wang “Triboelectric Nanogenerators as New Energy Technology for Self-Powered Systems and as Active Mechanical and Chemical Sensors”, ACS Nano 7 (2013) 9533-9557.

(5) L. Wang, J. Chen, L. Lin “Progress in triboelectric nanogenertors as new energy technology and self-powered sensors”, Energy & Environmental Sci, 8 (2015) 2250-2282.


Read more about Zhong Lin Wangs research here

Host: Haining Tian (