Flexible ZnO-cellulose nanocomposite for multisource energy conversion

Ashavani Kumar, Hemtej Gullapalli, Kaushik Balakrishnan, Andres Botello-Mendez, Robert Vajtai, Mauricio Terrones, Pulickel M. Ajayan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

83 Scopus citations


Materials with the ability to harness multiple sources of energy from the ambient environment could lead to new types of energy-harvesting systems. It is demonstrated that nanocomposite films consisting of zinc oxide nanostructures embedded in a common paper matrix can be directly used as energy-conversion devices to transform mechanical and thermal energies to electric power. These mechanically robust and flexible devices can be fabricated over large areas and are capable of producing an output voltage and power up to 80 mV and 50 nW cm -2, respectively. Furthermore, it is shown that by integrating a certain number of devices (in series and parallel) the output voltage and the concomitant output power can be significantly increased. Also, the output voltage and power can be enhanced by scaling the size of the device. This multisource energy-harvesting system based on ZnO nanostructures embedded in a flexible paper matrix provides a simplified and cost-effective platform for capturing trace amounts of energy for practical applications. Nanocomposite films consisting of ZnO nanostructures embedded in common paper are used as energy-conversion devices. The paper matrix makes these devices flexible while retaining their mechanical strength. This composite material can transform multiple sources, such as mechanical and thermal energy, into electric power, to provide a simplified and cost-effective platform for scavenging energy for practical applications.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2173-2178
Number of pages6
Issue number15
StatePublished - Aug 8 2011

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General Chemistry
  • Engineering (miscellaneous)
  • Biotechnology
  • General Materials Science
  • Biomaterials


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