Georgia Tech makes nanogenerators

The question of how to power devices at the nanoscale is getting increasing attention. Georgia Tech’s Z.L. Wang has one answer:

Researchers have developed a new technique for powering nanometer-scale devices without the need for bulky energy sources such as batteries.

By converting mechanical energy from body movement, muscle stretching or water flow into electricity, these “nanogenerators” could make possible a new class of self-powered implantable medical devices, sensors and portable electronics…

“Our bodies are good at converting chemical energy from glucose into the mechanical energy of our muscles,” Wang noted. “These nanogenerators can take that mechanical energy and convert it to electrical energy for powering devices inside the body. This could open up tremendous possibilities for self-powered implantable medical devices.”

Anyone care to speculate on whether this approach translates to the atomically-precise molecular scale? —Christine

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