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Direct current contact-mode triboelectric nanogenerators via systematic phase shifting

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journal contribution
posted on 16.06.2020, 10:08 by Ishara DharmasenaIshara Dharmasena, HM Cronin, RA Dorey, SRP Silva
The intermittency and discontinuous nature of power generation in Triboelectric Nanogenerators (TENGs) are arguably their most significant drawback, despite the promise demonstrated in low-power electronics. Herein, we introduce a novel technology to overcome this issue, in which, built-in systematic phase shifting of multiple poles is used to design a pseudo direct-current TENG. Unlike previous attempts of constructing near direct-current TENGs that are based on the segmentation of electrodes of a sliding mode TENG, this technology introduces a new method that depends on planned excitation of constituent TENG units at different time intervals to obtain the necessary phase shifts, achieved by their structural design that contains an asymmetric spatial arrangement. Therefore, the direct current generation for TENG, which was previously limited to the sliding mode TENG units, are expanded to contact-mode TENGs. The technology allows for continuous and smooth operation of the driven loads and paves the way for a new dawn in energy scavenging from mechanical sources. We use the distance-dependent electric field (DDEF) platform to design the systematic phase shifting technology, which is experimentally demonstrated via a free-standing mode TENG (FSTENG) based design, to power a number of prototype devices. The resultant power output of the TENG indicates a crest factor close to 1.1 at relatively low frequencies, the best reported values for TENGs with contact-mode basic units, to date. This work provides a route to the highly awaited solution to overcome the intermittency and sporadic nature of TENG outputs, thus, promoting the field towards powering next generation autonomous and mobile electronics.


EPSRC research project grant EP/S02106X/1 and EP/R025304/1.



  • Mechanical, Electrical and Manufacturing Engineering

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Nano Energy






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This paper was accepted for publication in the journal Nano Energy and the definitive published version is available at

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Dr Ishara Dharmasena. Deposit date: 15 June 2020

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