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.

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/wp-content/uploads/2018/10/zhe2018.pdf)

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.

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.

Publications:

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. 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, 2018, 4, 1800148. DOI:10.1002/admt.201800148. (featured on cover)
  2. 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,2018, 4, 1800335. DOI: 10.1002/admt.201800335.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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
  6. 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.
  7. 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.