A researcher from Swansea University is close to developing a device that could harvest energy from materials such as certain crystals, ceramics and proteins that contain a charge known as piezoelectric energy.

Dr Lijie Li from the College of Engineering has devised a new technology that makes a significant step forward in solving problems in the use of piezoelectric energy such as surface current leakage and the energy consumption of power management circuits.

Devices such as microphones, pressure sensors, fuel injectors, ultrasonic generators and micro robots can use piezoelectric transducers which convert the electrical potential of piezoelectric materials to mechanical energy.

Dr Li’s proposed structure integrates a layer of quantum dots with a layer of piezoelectric material to filter the effect and reduce power loss on the surface of the material. This new method is much more efficient than previous approaches of using external circuits or segmenting electrodes since it does not need additional circuits and brings researchers one step closer to developing an ‘all-in-one’ piezoelectric energy device.

Multiphysical analysis has been conducted to validate the idea which has been published in Scientific Reports 7, Article number: 44859 (2017).

Photo: Quartz crystal courtesy Wikipedia