Flexible Sensors and Energy Harvesters

Sponsored by: NSF, NIH R01 and The Arthur. L. Irving Institute for Energy and Society.

Cardiovascular disease is the #1 killer in the US and worldwide. Consequently, there is an upsurge in the various novel devices to diagnose, monitor, and treat cardiovascular disease. With the emergence of piezoelectric nanogenerator based sensor and energy harvester, we have developed three projects relevant to nanomaterials based pressure sensors and power harvesters.

Self‐sustainable energy generation provides a new power solution for implantable biomedical devices (IMDs). In this article, “Cardiac Energy Harvesting: Multifunctional Pacemaker Lead for Cardiac Energy Harvesting and Pressure Sensing” by Lin Dong, Zi Chen, Marc D. Feldman, John X. J. Zhang, and co‐workers developed an integrated cardiac energy harvesting and pressure sensing strategy by using the porous P(VDF‐TrFE) films with a self‐assembly helical structure. It offers a multifunctional, transformative while practical power and diagnosis solution for cardiac pacemakers and the next generation of IMDs.

This article is featured on the front cover of the journal Advanced Healthcare Materials (volume 9, issue 11, 2020) and can be found here: https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/abs/10.1002/adhm.202070031 OR PDF

Lin Dong, and co‐workers develop a compact, modular and compliant thin film energy harvester on a cardiac pacemaker lead which converts mechanical motion to electrical power. The device could enable self‐charging batteries to ultimately power pacemakers and other implantable biomedical devices. It provides a new paradigm for biomedical energy harvesting in vivo. (https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/admt.201970002)

Lin Dong, and co‐workers develop a cardiac energy harvesting strategy, which is integrated into part of the existing pacemaker lead, by utilizing porous piezoelectric thin films in a bioinspired self-wrapping helical configuration for flexible integration with existing implantable medical devices. It provides a sustainable power source for pacemakers, and represents a significant step forward for clinical translation without a thoracotomy for patients. (https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S221128551930792X?via%3Dihub)

By incorporating mesoporous piezoelectric materials and tuning mechanical boundary conditions a simple beam structure can significantly take advantage of limited mechanical displacements for energy harvesting. We carefully designed controlled experiments using mesoporous PVDF-TrFE film and PVDF-TrFE/SWCNT composite films, both of which were tested under two cases of boundary conditions, namely, the rotation of the end angle and the addition of a mechanical stop. Thereby, our study offers a promising platform for efficiently powering implantable and wearable devices for harnessing energy from the human body which would otherwise have been wasted. (http://nanolitesystems.org.user.s424.sureserver.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/10/zhe2018.pdf)

Piezoelectric nanomaterial-polymer composites represent a unique paradigm for making flexible energy harvesting and sensing devices with enhanced devices’ performance. In this work, we studied various metal doped ZnO nanostructures, fabricated and characterized ZnO nanoparticle-PVDF composite thin film, and demonstrated both enhanced energy generation and motion sensing capabilities. Further, we demonstrated that the energy harvested by the device from finger tapping can charge small electronics. We also showed the device as a flexible wearable motion sensor, where different hand gestures were detected by the device with distinctive output voltage amplitudes and patterns. (https://doi.org/10.1016/j.sna.2020.111912)

We report the design of a multi-beam cardiac energy harvester using PDMS-infilled mesoporous PVDF-TrFE composite film. We first added ZnO nanoparticles and multi-wall carbon nanotubes into mesoporous PVDF-TrFE films to increase the energy output. For the application in cardiac pacemakers, we developed a facile fabrication method by building a cylindrical multi-beam device that resides on the pacemaker lead to harvest energy from the complex motion of the lead driven by the heartbeat. Since the energy harvesting component is integrated into the pacemaker, it significantly reduces the risks and expenses associated with pacemaker-related surgeries. This work is featured on the cover of ACS Applied Materials & Interfaces (volume 12, issue 30, 2020). (PDF)

Find the article online here: https://pubs.acs.org/doi/abs/10.1021/acsami.0c07969

Electrospinning is a method that uses electric force to fabricate nanofibers of polymers. Recently, we have been developing piezoelectric nanofibers by this method for cardiac energy harvesting and sensing applications. Preliminary studies suggest the morphology of these fibers effects electrical output.

Inkjet printers are the most common type of printer, which work by propelling droplets of ink to recreate a digital image. We are utilizing these common printers for patterning of functional polymers for flexible electronic devices.


Review articles:

  1. Lin Dong#, Congran Jin#, Andrew B. Closson, Ian Trase, Haley R. Richards, Zi Chen and John X.J. Zhang 2020 “Cardiac energy harvesting and sensing based on piezoelectric and triboelectric designs”, Nano Energy, 76, 105076. PDF

Thin film PVDF sensor materials physics & development:

  1. D. Chen, K. Chen, K. Brown, A. Hang,X.J. Zhang, “Liquid-phase tuning of porous PVDF film on flexible substrate for energy harvesting”, Applied Physics Letters, APL16-AR-09038, 110, 153902, 2017.
  2. D. Chen and X.J. Zhang, “Porous PVDF Film with Dense Surface Enables Efficient Piezoelectric Conversion”, Applied Physics Letters, 106: 193901, 2015.
  3. D. Chen, T. Sharma, X.J. Zhang, “Mesoporous PVDF Surface Control and Piezoelectric Output Enhancement”, Sensors and Actuators A, 2(16): 196–201, 2014.

Thin film pressure sensors:

  1. T. Sharma, S. Naik, J. Langevine, B. Gill, X.J. Zhang, “Aligned PVDF-TrFE nanofibers with high-density solid and core-shell structures for endovascular pressure sensing”, IEEE Transactions on Biomedical Engineering, 62(1): 188–195, 2015 (highlighted in the editorial section).
  2. T. Sharma, K. Aroom, S. Naik, B. Gill, and X.J. Zhang, “Flexible Thin-Film PVDF-TrFE Based Pressure Sensor for Smart Catheter Applications”, Annals of Biomedical Engineering, 41(4): 744–51, 2013.
  3. T. Sharma, S. Je, B. Gill, X.J. Zhang, “Patterning piezoelectric thin-film PVDF TrFE-based pressure sensor for catheter application”, Sensors & Actuators, A Physical, 177: 87–92, 2012.

Thin film glucose sensors:

  1. D. Chen, C. Wang, W. Chen, Y. Chen, X.J. Zhang, “PVDF-Nafion Nanomembranes Coated Microneedles for In Vivo Transcutaneous Implantable Glucose Sensing”, Biosensors and Bioelectronics, 74: 1047–1052, 2015

Thin film biofuel cells:

  1. T. Sharma, Y. Hu, M. Stoller, K. Lin, M. Feldman, R.S. Ruoff, M. Ferrari and X.J. Zhang. “Mesoporous Silica Membrane for Ultra-thin Implantable Biofuel Cells”, Lab on Chip, 11(14): 2460–2465, 2011.

Thin film energy harvesting devices:

  1. Z. Xu#, C. Jin#, A. Cabe, D. Escobedo, N. Hao, I. Trase, A.B. Closson, L. Dong, Y. Nie, J. Elliott, M. Feldman, Z. Chen, J.X.J. Zhang, Flexible Energy Harvester on a Pacemaker Lead Using Multi-beam Piezoelectric Composite Thin Film, ACS Appl. Mater. Interfaces. (2020). https://doi:10.1021/acsami.0c07969. (featured on cover)
  2. L. Dong, A. B. Closson, C. Jin, Y. Nie, A. Cabe, D. Escobedo, S. Huang, I. Trase, Z. Xu, Z. Chen, M. Feldman, and J. X.J. Zhang, “Cardiac Energy Harvesting: Multifunctional Pacemaker Lead for Cardiac Energy Harvesting and Pressure Sensing” Advanced Healthcare Materials, 2020, 9, 2000053. https://doi.org/10.1002/adhm.202000053 (featured on cover)
  3. Congran Jin, Nanjing Hao, Zhe Xu, Ian Trase, Yuan Nie, Lin Dong, Andrew Closson, Zi Chen, John X.J. Zhang, “Flexible piezoelectric nanogenerators using metal-doped ZnO-PVDF films” Sensors and Actuators A: Physical, Volume 305, 2020, 111912, https://doi.org/10.1016/j.sna.2020.111912.
  4. L. Dong, X. Han, Z. Xu, A. B. Closson, Y. Liu, C. Wen, X. Liu, G. P. Escobar, M. Oglesby, M. Feldman, Z. Chen, and X.J. Zhang, “Flexible Porous Piezoelectric Cantilever on a Pacemaker Lead for Compact Energy Harvesting” Advanced Materials Technologies, 2019, 4, 1800148. DOI:10.1002/admt.201800148. (featured on cover)
  5. L. Dong, C.Wen, Y. Liu, Z. Xu, A. B. Closson, X. Han, G. P. Escobar, M. Oglesby., M. Feldman, Z. Chen and X. J. Zhang, “Piezoelectric buckled beam array on a pacemaker lead for energy harvesting”, Advanced Materials Technologies, 2019, 4, 1800335. DOI: 10.1002/admt.201800335.
  6. Lin Dong, Andrew B. Closson, Meagan Oglesby, Danny Escobedo, Xiaomin Han, Yuan Nie, Shicheng Huang, Marc Feldman, Zi Chen and X.J. Zhang 2019 “In vivo cardiac power generation enabled by an integrated helical piezoelectric pacemaker lead”, Nano Energy, 66, 104085, DOI: 10.1016/j.nanoen.2019.104085.
  7. Lin Dong, Andrew B. Closson, Congran Jin, Ian Trase, Zi Chen and X.J. Zhang, 2019 “Vibration energy harvesting system: transduction mechanisms, frequency tuning techniques and biomechanical applications”, Advanced Materials Technologies, 4.1900177.
  8. Z. Xu, Y. Liu, L. Dong, A. Closson, N. Hao, S. Fu, M. Oglesby, G. Escobar, C. Wen, J. Liu, M. Feldman, Z. Chen, and X.J. Zhang, “Tunable Buckled Beams with Mesoporous PVDF-TrFE/CNT Composite Film for Energy Harvesting”, ACS Applied Materials & Interfaces, 10, 33516–33522, 2018
  9. N. Hu*, D. Chen*, D. Wang, S. Huang, X. Yu, X.J. Zhang, Z. Chen, “Stretchable kirigami polyvinylidene difluoride thin films for energy harvesting: design, analysis and performance”, Physical Review Applied, 9, 021002, 2018.
  10. T. Sharma, S. Naik, A. Gopal, X.J. Zhang, “Emerging Trends in Bioenergy Harvesters for Chronic Powered Implants”, MRS Energy and Sustainability (A Review Journal), 2: E7 (15 pages), 2015.

Multi-stability/Computational for Transducer designs

  1. X. Hou, Y. Liu, G. Wan, Z. Xu, C. Wen, H. Yu, X.J. Zhang*, J. Li*, and Z. Chen*, “Magneto-sensitive bistable soft actuators: experiments, simulations, and applications, Applied Physics Letters (co-corresponding authors), 113, 221902, 2018
  2. Y. Liu, W. Zeng, G. Wan, L. Dong, Z. Xu, X.J. Zhang* and Z. Chen*, “Voltage-actuated Snap-through in Bistable Piezoelectric Thin Films: A Computational Study”, Smart Materials and Structures (co-corresponding authors), in press
  3. N. Hu, X. Han, S. Huang, H.M. Grover, X. Yu, L. Zhang, I. Trase, X.J. Zhang, L. Zhang, L.X. Dong, Zi Chen, “Edge Effect of Strained Bilayer Nanofilms for Tunable Multistability and Actuation”, Nanoscale, 9, 2958–2962, 2017.
  4. T. Ha, X.J. Zhang, N. Lu, “Thickness Ratio and d33 Effects on Flexible Piezoelectric Unimorph Energy Conversion”, Smart Materials and Structures, 25(3): 035037, 2016.

#: Equal contribution