Electronic Components
Harvesting Energy for Medical Implants
Posted in News, Electronic Components, Power Supplies, Implants & Prosthetics on Monday, 01 December 2014
Scientists at the VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland have demonstrated a new technique for harvesting energy from mechanical vibrations of the environment and converting it into electricity. They explain that energy harvesters are needed, for example, in wireless self-powered sensors and medical implants, such as pacemakers, where they could ultimately replace batteries.
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New System Could Prolong Power in Mobile Devices
Posted in News, Electronic Components, PCs/Portable Computers, Power Management on Sunday, 26 October 2014
Researchers from The University of Texas at Dallas have created technology that could be the first step toward wearable computers with self-contained power sources or, more immediately, a smartphone that doesn’t die after a few hours of heavy use. The technology taps into the power of a single electron to control energy consumption inside transistors, which are at the core of most modern electronic systems.
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Researchers Develop Thinnest Electric Generator
Posted in News, Electronic Components, Electronics, Power Management, Metals, Sensors on Friday, 17 October 2014
Researchers from Columbia Engineering and the Georgia Institute of Technology made the first experimental observation of piezoelectricity and the piezotronic effect in an atomically thin material, molybdenum disulfide (MoS2), resulting in a unique electric generator and mechanosensation devices that are optically transparent, extremely light, and very bendable and stretchable.

“This material—just a single layer of atoms—could be made as a wearable device, perhaps integrated into clothing, to convert energy from your body movement to electricity and power wearable sensors or medical devices, or perhaps supply enough energy to charge your cell phone in your pocket,” says James Hone, professor of mechanical engineering at Columbia and co-leader of the research.

Hone’s team placed thin flakes of MoS2 on flexible plastic substrates and determined how their crystal lattices were oriented using optical techniques. They then patterned metal electrodes onto the flakes. In research done at Georgia Tech, a group led by Zhong Lin Wang, Regents’ Professor in Georgia Tech’s School of Materials Science and Engineering, installed measurement electrodes on the samples provided by Hone’s group, then measured current flows as the samples were mechanically deformed. They monitored the conversion of mechanical to electrical energy, and observed voltage and current outputs.

Ultimately, Zhong Lin Wang notes, the research could lead to complete atomic-thick nanosystems that are self-powered by harvesting mechanical energy from the environment. This study also reveals the piezotronic effect in two-dimensional materials for the first time, which greatly expands the application of layered materials for human-machine interfacing, robotics, MEMS, and active flexible electronics.

Source Also: Learn more about a Piezoelectric Energy Harvesting Transducer System.
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Ferroelectric Materials Could Revolutionize Data-Driven Devices
Posted in News, Board-Level Electronics, Computers, Electronic Components, Electronics, Power Management, Metals, Measuring Instruments on Thursday, 16 October 2014
Electronic devices with unprecedented efficiency and data storage may someday run on ferroelectrics — remarkable materials that use built-in electric polarizations to read and write digital information, outperforming the magnets that are inside most popular data-driven technology. But ferroelectrics must first overcome a few key stumbling blocks, including a curious habit of "forgetting" stored data. Now, however, scientists at the U.S. Department of Energy's Brookhaven National Laboratory have discovered nanoscale asymmetries and charge preferences hidden within ferroelectrics that may explain their operational limits.
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'Solar Battery' Runs on Light and Air
Posted in News, Batteries, Electronic Components, Power Management, Energy Storage, Renewable Energy, Solar Power on Tuesday, 07 October 2014
Ohio State University researchers report that they have succeeded in combining a battery and a solar cell into one hybrid device.

Key to the innovation is a mesh solar panel, which allows air to enter the battery, and a special process for transferring electrons between the solar panel and the battery electrode. Inside the device, light and oxygen enable different parts of the chemical reactions that charge the battery.

The university will license the solar battery to industry, where Yiying Wu, professor of chemistry and biochemistry at Ohio State, says it will help tame the costs of renewable energy.

“The state of the art is to use a solar panel to capture the light, and then use a cheap battery to store the energy,” Wu said. “We’ve integrated both functions into one device. Any time you can do that, you reduce cost.”

During charging, light hits the mesh solar panel and creates electrons. Inside the battery, electrons are involved in the chemical decomposition of lithium peroxide into lithium ions and oxygen. The oxygen is released into the air, and the lithium ions are stored in the battery as lithium metal after capturing the electrons.

When the battery discharges, it chemically consumes oxygen from the air to re-form the lithium peroxide. An iodide additive in the electrolyte acts as a “shuttle” that carries electrons, and transports them between the battery electrode and the mesh solar panel.

The use of the additive represents a distinct approach on improving the battery performance and efficiency, the team said. The invention eliminates the loss of electricity that normally occurs when electrons have to travel between a solar cell and an external battery.

Source

Also: Learn about Full-Cell Evaluation for New Battery Chemistries.
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Tiny Wireless Sensing Device Alerts Users to Telltale Vapors Remotely
Posted in News, Wireless, Board-Level Electronics, Electronic Components, Electronics, Detectors, Sensors on Sunday, 05 October 2014
A research team at the Georgia Tech Research Institute (GTRI) has developed a small electronic sensing device that can alert users wirelessly to the presence of chemical vapors in the atmosphere. The technology, which could be manufactured using familiar aerosol-jet printing techniques, is aimed at a variety of applications in military, commercial, environmental, healthcare and other areas.
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Exploring Batteries for Micromachinery
Posted in News, Batteries, Electronic Components, Electronics on Friday, 03 October 2014
A team of researchers from the National Institute of Standards and Technology, Gaithersburg, MD, along with other institutions, has developed a toolset to allow them to explore the interior of microscopic, multi-layered batteries. This allows them insight into the batteries’ performance without destroying them—resulting in both a useful probe for scientists and a potential power source for micromachines.
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