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News Release 06-064

Nanogenerators May Spark Miniature Machines

Devices convert simple motion into electricity

Georgia Tech Professor Zhong Lin Wang holds a sample nanowire array.

Georgia Tech Professor Zhong Lin Wang holds a sample nanowire array.


April 13, 2006

This material is available primarily for archival purposes. Telephone numbers or other contact information may be out of date; please see current contact information at media contacts.

Researchers at the Georgia Institute of Technology have crafted tiny nanowires that generate electricity when they vibrate. Just like the quartz crystal in a watch, the zinc-oxide nanowires are piezoelectric, which means bending causes them to produce an electrical charge.

Only 20-40 billionths of a meter in diameter, each fiber partners with millions of others to form a nanogenerator capable of producing significant amounts of energy from the slightest activity. According to the researchers, motions from body movement, the stretching of muscles and even the flow of liquids should be able to generate electric charges in the wires--perfect for implantable medical devices, "smart" apparel and a variety of other applications.

Supported by the National Science Foundation Division of Materials Research Metals program, NASA and DARPA, physicist Zhong Lin "ZL" Wang and graduate student Jinhui Song report their findings in the Apr. 14, 2006, issue of the journal Science.

Additional information is available in the Georgia Tech press release linked below and at www.EurekAlert.org.

-NSF-

Media Contacts
Joshua A. Chamot, NSF, (703) 292-7730, email: jchamot@nsf.gov
John Toon, Georgia Institute of Technology, (404) 894-6986, email: jtoon@gatech.edu

Program Contacts
Harsh Deep Chopra, NSF, (703) 292-4543, email: hchopra@nsf.gov

Principal Investigators
Zhong Lin Wang, Georgia Institute of Technology, (404) 894-8008, email: zhong.wang@mse.gatech.edu

The U.S. National Science Foundation propels the nation forward by advancing fundamental research in all fields of science and engineering. NSF supports research and people by providing facilities, instruments and funding to support their ingenuity and sustain the U.S. as a global leader in research and innovation. With a fiscal year 2021 budget of $8.5 billion, NSF funds reach all 50 states through grants to nearly 2,000 colleges, universities and institutions. Each year, NSF receives more than 40,000 competitive proposals and makes about 11,000 new awards. Those awards include support for cooperative research with industry, Arctic and Antarctic research and operations, and U.S. participation in international scientific efforts.

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