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World's 'first self-powered nanodevice with wireless data transmission' created


June 20, 2011

The nanodevice consists of a sensor and transmitter (left), a capacitor (middle), and a nanogenerator (right) (Image: Georgia Tech)

The nanodevice consists of a sensor and transmitter (left), a capacitor (middle), and a nanogenerator (right) (Image: Georgia Tech)

Scientists from the Georgia Institute of Technology recently reported the development of what they say is the world's "first self-powered nano-device that can transmit data wirelessly over long distances." The tiny device is able to operate battery-free, using a piezoelectric nanogenerator to create electricity from naturally-occurring mechanical vibrations.

The five-layered, one square-centimeter nanogenerator was made from a flexible polymer substrate, with zinc-oxide (ZnO) nanowire textured films attached to that polymer's top and bottom surfaces, and electrodes on the outside surfaces of the nanowire films.

When mechanically strained by vibrations, it produces an output voltage of 10 volts, and an output current of over 0.6 microamps. Energy is stored in the nanodevice's built-in capacitor, and is used to power electronics including an infrared photon-detecting sensor, and a radio transmitter that uses technology similar to that found in Bluetooth headsets.

In tests, it was reportedly able to transmit wireless signals that could be detected by an ordinary radio, at distances of over 30 feet (9 meters). While only three straining cycles of the nanogenerator were required in order to generate enough power to transmit the radio signal, 1,000 cycles were necessary to power the sensor, and then transmit a signal once it was triggered. In a high-stress environment, however, the cycles could add up pretty quickly.

"This study proves the feasibility of using ZnO nanowire NGs [nanogenerators] for building self-powered systems with capability of long distance data transmission, clearly proving its potential application in wireless biosensing, environmental infrastructure monitoring, sensor networks, personal electronics, and even national security," the Georgia Tech team concluded in a paper on the nanodevice, which was recently published in the journal Nano Letters.

The research project was led by Professor Zhong Lin Wang.

About the Author
Ben Coxworth An experienced freelance writer, videographer and television producer, Ben's interest in all forms of innovation is particularly fanatical when it comes to human-powered transportation, film-making gear, environmentally-friendly technologies and anything that's designed to go underwater. He lives in Edmonton, Alberta, where he spends a lot of time going over the handlebars of his mountain bike, hanging out in off-leash parks, and wishing the Pacific Ocean wasn't so far away. All articles by Ben Coxworth
1 Comment

Terminator\'s SkY-NeT meets Matrix... O\' The Humanity.

So now we will have autonomus self-replicating entities that compete with us, who also develop and evolve every 18 months ( Moore\'s \"law\").

Umm, well i guess i\'ll become the first retro-Prophet of the \"apocalypse\" by saying that this moment in history was the beginning of the end.

They have a peltier/seebeck effect alloy that transforms heat directly into electricity, all the device has to do now is absorb that patent technology into its new \"build code\" and it could invade and live inside any/all warm spots on earth including inside our bodies!!!

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