A hybrid strain and thermal energy harvester based on an infra-red sensitive Er3+ modified poly(vinylidene fluoride) ferroelectret structure

Sujoy Kumar Ghosh, Mengying Xie, Christopher Rhys Bowen, Philip R. Davies, David J. Morgan, Dipankar Mandal

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14 Citations (Scopus)


In this paper, a novel infra-red (IR) sensitive Er3+ modified poly(vinylidene fluoride) (PVDF) (Er-PVDF) film is developed for converting both mechanical and thermal energies into useful electrical power. The addition of Er3+ to PVDF is shown to improve piezoelectric properties due to the formation of a self-polarized ferroelectric β-phase and the creation of an electret-like porous structure. In addition, we demonstrate that Er3+ acts to enhance heat transfer into the Er-PVDF film due to its excellent infrared absorbance, which, leads to rapid and large temperature fluctuations and improved pyroelectric energy transformation. We demonstrate the potential of this novel material for mechanical energy harvesting by creating a durable ferroelectret energy harvester/nanogenerator (FTNG). The high thermal stability of the β-phase enables the FTNG to harvest large temperature fluctuations (ΔT ~ 24 K). Moreover, the superior mechanosensitivity, SM ~ 3.4 VPa-1 of the FTNG enables the design of a wearable self-powered health-care monitoring system by human-machine integration. The combination of rare-earth ion, Er3+ with the ferroelectricity of PVDF provides a new and robust approach for delivering smart materials and structures for self-powered wireless technologies, sensors and Internet of Things (IoT) devices.

Original languageEnglish
Article number16703
Pages (from-to)1-13
Number of pages13
JournalScientific Reports
Issue number1
Early online date1 Dec 2017
Publication statusPublished - 1 Dec 2017

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General

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