PhD student, The University of Melbourne
Microstructured piezoelectric materials to power thin film and flexible electronic devices.
My research aims to create tiny pillars of a polymer able to generate electricity when bent (piezoelectric), which is smaller than the width of a human hair, by using a technique called 3D-microprinting. Using pressure to deposit droplets through tiny nozzles in 3D-printers can help orient the polymer chains to obtain a high piezoelectric coefficient compared to standard film casting techniques. This flexible, thin and transparent polymer can use the piezoelectric effect to generate electricity when it is bent, folded, stretched, or deformed in any other way. The micropillars play a key role, as they have a much higher surface area than a flat sheet of polymer, which further increases their electrical output. These microstructures can be used within an array of next-generation applications including generating electricity in smart roads and smart clothing, flexible electronics that can self-charge on the go, as well as a variety of self-powered sensors ranging from the detection of toxic gases through to monitoring heart rate and breathing rate.
Abstract: Poly(vinylidene fluoride) (PVDF) is known for its biocompatibility, piezo and pyro-electricity, and membrane forming capability. In order to tune its properties, modification through grafting from approach by atom transfer radical polymerization (ATRP) is preferred. Hydrophilic polymers like poly(ethylene glycol) methacrylate, poly(methacrylic acid), poly(dimethylaminoethyl methacrylate) (PDMAEMA), and so forth have been anchored from PVDF backbone in order to make permeation of water molecules through the PVDF based membranes. The successful solution grafting of PDMAEMA chains from PVDF backbone by ATRP resulted appreciable graft conversion and hence its bulk properties showed a significant change. This water soluble graft copolymer shows incredible mechanical and adhesive properties. PVDF-g-poly(n-butyl methacrylate) generates honey-comb porous film using “breath figure” technique. Recently, they have used further improvement of grafting where model ATRP initiators are anchored using atom transfer radical coupling and used them as macroinitiators for grafting. This approach simplified the grafting reactions even more and enabled successful grafting of a large number of monomers under relatively less drastic conditions with appreciable conversion compared with the previous conditions. This technique has resulted interesting solution properties, ion and electron conducting PVDF, antifouling membrane, super glue and super tough materials, capable of generating metal nanoparticles tunable with pH and temperature. © 2017 Wiley Periodicals, Inc. J. Polym. Sci., Part A: Polym. Chem. 2017
Pub.: 04 Jun '17, Pinned: 25 Aug '17
Abstract: This paper presents a flexible graphene/polyvinylidene difluoride (PVDF)/graphene sandwich for three-dimensional touch interactivity. Here, x-y plane touch is sensed using graphene capacitive elements, while force sensing in the z-direction is by a piezoelectric PVDF/graphene sandwich. By employing different frequency bands for the capacitive- and force-induced electrical signals, the two stimuli are detected simultaneously, achieving three-dimensional touch sensing. Static force sensing and elimination of propagated stress are achieved by augmenting the transient piezo output with the capacitive touch, thus overcoming the intrinsic inability of the piezoelectric material in detecting non-transient force signals and avoiding force touch mis-registration by propagated stress.
Pub.: 30 Apr '17, Pinned: 25 Aug '17
Abstract: Recently, liquid flow over monolayer graphene has been experimentally demonstrated to generate an induced voltage in the flow direction, and various physical mechanisms have been proposed to explain the electricity-generating process between liquid and graphene. However, there are significant discrepancies in the reported results with non-ionic liquid: the observed voltage responses with deionized (DI) water vary from lab to lab under presumably similar flowing conditions. Here, a graphene-piezoelectric material heterostructure is proposed for harvesting energy from water flow; it is shown that the introduction of a piezoelectric template beneath graphene results in an obvious voltage output up to 0.1 V even with DI water. This potential arises from a continuous charging–discharging process in graphene, which is suggested to be a result of a relatively retarded screening effect of the water for the generated piezoelectric charges than that of the graphene layer, as revealed by first-principles calculations. This work considers a dynamic charge interaction among water, graphene, and the substrate, highlighting the crucial role of the underlying substrate in the electricity-generating process, which will greatly enhance understanding of the flow-induced voltage and push the graphene-water nanogenerator close to practical applications.
Pub.: 28 Dec '16, Pinned: 25 Aug '17
Abstract: Piezoelectric nanogenerators with large output, high sensitivity, and good flexibility have attracted extensive interest in wearable electronics and personal healthcare. In this paper, the authors propose a high-performance flexible piezoelectric nanogenerator based on piezoelectrically enhanced nanocomposite micropillar array of polyvinylidene fluoride-trifluoroethylene (P(VDF-TrFE))/barium titanate (BaTiO3) for energy harvesting and highly sensitive self-powered sensing. By a reliable and scalable nanoimprinting process, the piezoelectrically enhanced vertically aligned P(VDF-TrFE)/BaTiO3 nanocomposite micropillar arrays are fabricated. The piezoelectric device exhibits enhanced voltage of 13.2 V and a current density of 0.33 µA cm−2, which an enhancement by a factor of 7.3 relatives to the pristine P(VDF-TrFE) bulk film. The mechanisms of high performance are mainly attributed to the enhanced piezoelectricity of the P(VDF-TrFE)/BaTiO3 nanocomposite materials and the improved mechanical flexibility of the micropillar array. Under mechanical impact, stable electricity is stably generated from the nanogenerator and used to drive various electronic devices to work continuously, implying its significance in the field of consumer electronic devices. Furthermore, it can be applied as self-powered flexible sensor work in a noncontact mode for detecting air pressure and wearable sensors for detecting some human vital signs including different modes of breath and heartbeat pulse, which shows its potential applications in flexible electronics and medical sciences.
Pub.: 28 Apr '17, Pinned: 25 Aug '17
Join Sparrho today to stay on top of science
Discover, organise and share research that matters to you