Nano-Micro Letters

Nanogenerators for Self-Powered Gas Sensing

Zhen Wen1, Qingqing Shen1, Xuhui Sun1,*

icon-htmlFull Text Html
icon-pdf-smPDF w/ Links
icon-citExport Citation
+Show more

Nano-Micro Lett. (2017) 9: 45

First Online: 30 March 2017 (Review)


*Corresponding author. E-mail:




Fig. 11 Blow-driven TENG as an active alcohol breathalyzer. a Schematic illustrations of the functional components of the blow-driven triboelectric nanogenerator, which mainly consists of three parts, a rotator, a stator and a soft elastic. b A SEM image of the FEP polymer NWs (scale bar, 500 nm). c A photograph of the as-fabricated stator (scale bar, 1 cm). d A schematic illustration of an as-fabricated device (scale bar, 2 cm). e The variation of the output voltage and current with external load resistances under a fixed blowing speed of 6 m/s (The inset shows the measurement circuit diagram). f A real-time continuously measured voltage profile to show the dynamic response to ambient alcohol concentrations. g A schematic illustration showing the self-power breathalyzer. Figures adapted from [102].

Looking towards world technology trends over the next few decades, self-powered sensing networks are a key field of technological and economic driver for global industries. Since 2006, Zhong Lin Wang’s group has proposed a novel concept of nanogenerators (NGs), including piezoelectric nanogenerator (PENG) and triboelectric nanogenerator (TENG), which could convert a mechanical trigger into an electric output. Considering motion ubiquitously exists in the surrounding environment and for any most common materials used every day, NGs could be inherently served as an energy source for our daily increasing requirements or as one of self-powered environmental sensors. In this regard, by coupling the piezoelectric or triboelectric properties with semiconducting gas-sensing characterization, a new research field of self-powered gas-sensing has been proposed. Recent works have shown promising concept to realize NGs based self-powered gas sensors that are capable of detecting gas environment without the need of external power sources to activate the gas sensors or to actively generate a read-out signal. Compared with conventional sensors, these self-powered gas sensors keep the approximate performance. Meanwhile, these sensors drastically reduce power consumption and additionally reduce the required space for integration, which are significantly suitable for the wearable devices. This paper gives a brief summary about the establishment and latest progress in the fundamental principle, updated progress and potential applications of NG based self-powered gas sensing system. The development trend in this field is envisaged and the basic configurations are also introduced.



Nanogenerator; Self-powered; Gas sensing; Piezoelectric; Triboelectric

 View: Full Text HTML | PDF w/ Links