Author(s): Mi HY, Jing X, Meador MAB, Guo H, Turng LS, Gong S. Triboelectric nanogenerators made of porous polyamide nanofiber mats and polyimide aerogel film: output optimization and performance in circuits. ACS Appl Mater Interfaces. 2018 Sep 12;10(36):30596-30606. doi: 10.1021/acsami.8b08098. Epub 2018 Aug 28. PMID 30114352
Triboelectric nanogenerators (TENGs) have been attracting a tremendous amount of attention since their discovery in 2012. Finding new means to enhance energy output is an ongoing pursuit. Herein, we introduce a new type of high-performance TENG composed of highly porous polyamide (PA) nanofiber mats and polyimide aerogel films. We have demonstrated that the thickness of the porous triboelectric materials, which is attained by stacking multiple layers of triboelectric materials, has a profound effect on the triboelectric output performance of TENGs. The triboelectric output increased when PA increased from one layer to six layers. However, it decreased when PA was further increased to 12 layers. With an optimum material thickness, a TENG with only a 2 cm2 effective device size achieved a high output voltage of 115 V and a current of 9.5 μA under a small compressive pressure (30 kPa). A peak power density of 1.84 W/m2 was achieved on a 4.7 MΩ external load. The TENG was able to light 60 light-emitting diodes easily and quickly charge capacitors with different capacitance to 6 V, indicating an outstanding energy harvesting ability. In addition, the performance of multiple TENGs connected in different ways, as well as the performance of TENGs in resistive/inductive/capacitive circuits, were investigated. These findings provide new insight into the working principles of TENGs in complex circuits.