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Solar & Alternative Energy

Video: Zhong Lin Wang on piezoelectricity -- energy harvesting on the nano level

Nanogenerators made from zinc oxide can power small electronics with energy made from tiny motions.
8 July 2011, SPIE Newsroom. DOI: 10.1117/2.3201107.01

Zhong Lin (ZL) Wang is the Hightower Chair in Materials Science and Engineering, Regents' Professor, and College of Engineering Distinguished Professor at Georgia Institute of Technology, and director of the university's Center for Nanostructure Characterization (CNC). He has made innovative contributions to the understanding of fundamental physical properties of oxide nanobelts and nanowires, as well as applications of nanowires in energy sciences, electronics,optoelectronics and biological science.

He invented the in-situ technique for measuring the mechanical and electrical properties of a single nanotube/nanowire inside a transmission electron microscope (TEM). He pioneered the field of piezotronics and piezo-phototronics by introducing piezoelectric potential gated charge transport process in fabricating new electronic and optoelectronic devices, with potential applications in MEMS/NEMS, nanorobotics, human-electronics interface, sensors, medical diagnosis and photovoltaics.

Among his numerous awards, he was elected a foreign member of the Chinese Academy of Sciences in 2009. He is also a member of European Academy of Sciences, a fellow of American Physical Society, AAAS, the Materials Research Society, and the Microscopy Society of America in 2010.

The group's current research focuses on the fundamental science in the physical and chemical processes in nanomaterials growth, unique properties, fabrication of novel devices, and their unique applications in energy science and biomedical science. Research directions include nanogenerators for converting mechanical energy into electricity; nanopiezotronics; nano-enabling technology for solar cells; integration of nanosystems with biomedical science and cancer detection; self-powered nanosystems; fundamental electron microscopy and its applications; and in-situ measurements in a TEM.

Wang was interviewed for SPIE Newsroom at SPIE Defense, Security and Sensing 2011.