Scientists from Pusan National University examine advances in portable energy collection and storage
Portable electronic devices are getting smaller and more complex. As a result, it became difficult to provide them with enough energy. In a recent study, scientists from Pusan National University provide an update on the latest developments in energy harvesting and storage technology for wearable devices, with a focus on nanomaterials and their assembly in various large-scale structures. Their work aims to accelerate the design of wearable technologies and shape their future demands.
Wearable electronic devices have come a long way in recent years, unlocking new applications in health, fitness monitoring, data collection, communication, and more. However, the natural progression towards smaller, lighter, more complex and multifunctional portable devices has also made it more difficult to supply these devices with suitable power sources. Fortunately, research is being conducted on different methods to meet the power needs of next-generation portable devices.
In particular, nanoscale materials, if assembled into appropriate large-scale structures, can not only provide the flexibility that wearable devices need, but also harvest and store the energy required for operation by the through various mechanisms. In a recent article published in Advanced Functional Materials, an international research team reviewed the latest advances in energy harvesting and storage for wearable devices using structured nanomaterials. The team included Assistant Professor Ha Beom Lee from Pusan National University, Professor Seung Hwan Ko from Seoul National University and Dr. Hyun Kim from the Korea Research Institute of Chemical Technology in Korea.
There are many different ways to harvest the energy in portable devices and convert it into electricity. Some of the most promising mechanisms include biomechanical energy harvesters, which harvest energy from the natural movements of the human body, biothermal energy harvesters, which generate electricity from body heat, and solar cells laptops. The article also looks at energy storage technologies, such as portable batteries and supercapacitors, and hybrid devices, which combine multiple forms of energy harvesting and/or storage in a single package.
In particular, the review focuses on how different types of nanomaterials can be used in 1D, 2D, and 3D structures and configurations for energy harvesting and storage, highlighting the main advantages and limitations of each. “Our comprehensive overview of nanomaterials and their properties, advanced processes, optimized structural design and integration strategies for energy devices will contribute to the practical deployment of power systems that can be used in wearable devices in the near future. notes Dr. Lee.
Taken together, this work is expected to help shape future demand for autonomous wearables, which will include smartphones, watches, eyewear, tattoos, textiles, e-skin sensors, and health devices. Dr. Lee concludes by highlighting important research directions to accelerate the development of wearable technology: “Further studies should focus on refining nanoscale materials, structures and interfaces, developing device configurations appropriate macro scales tailored to specific applications and provide integration strategies to synergistically combine multiple of the energy harvesting and storage units to achieve reliable operation.”
Hopefully, the review article will help bring researchers up to date and inspire new ideas, accelerating the development of wearable electronics and eventually integrating them into our daily lives.