Xabier García-Casas, Ali Ghaffarinejad, Francisco J.Aparicio, Javier Castillo-Seoane, Carmen López-Santos, Juan P. Espinós, José Cotrino, Juan Ramón Sánchez-Valencia, ÁngelBarranco and Ana Borrás

Nano Energy 91 (2022), 106673

DOI: 10.1016/j.nanoen.2021.106673

We introduce herein the advanced application of low-pressure plasma procedures for the development of piezo and triboelectric mode I hybrid nanogenerators. Thus, plasma assisted deposition and functionalization methods are presented as key enabling technologies for the nanoscale design of ZnO polycrystalline shells, the formation of conducting metallic cores in core@shell nanowires, and for the solventless surface modification of polymeric coatings and matrixes. We show how the perfluorinated chains grafting of polydimethylsiloxane (PDMS) provides a reliable approach to increase the hydrophobicity and surface charges at the same time that keeping the PDMS mechanical properties. In this way, we produce efficient Ag/ZnO convoluted piezoelectric nanogenerators supported on flexible substrates and embedded in PDMS compatible with a contact–separation triboelectric architecture. Factors like crystalline texture, ZnO thickness, nanowires aspect ratio, and surface chemical modification of the PDMS are explored to optimize the power output of the nanogenerators aimed for harvesting from low-frequency vibrations. Just by manual triggering, the hybrid device can charge a capacitor to switch on an array of color LEDs. Outstandingly, this simple three-layer architecture allows for harvesting vibration energy in a wide bandwidth, thus, we show the performance characteristics for frequencies between 1 Hz and 50 Hz and demonstrate the successful activation of the system up to ca. 800 Hz.