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Energy Transitions Research at the University of Cambridge

Thursday, 15 June, 2017 - 17:00 to 19:00
Event location: 
Maxwell Centre, West Cambridge

Maxwell Centre and Cambridge Network are delighted to announce the next event in a series of talks presenting University of Cambridge leading research activites to industrial audiences

From discovery science to industrial applications: Nanogenerators for Energy Harvesting

Speaker: Dr Sohini Kar-Narayan, Department of Materials Science and Metallurgy

Dr Sohini Kar-Narayan is a University Lecturer & ERC Starting Grant holder working in the Department of Materials Science, University of Cambridge, where she leads the Materials for Nanogenerators and Sensors group (part of the Device Materials Group). She is a Fellow of Clare Hall College and Director of Studies (Physical Sciences) at Homerton College. Prior to taking up her Royal Society Dorothy Hodgkin Fellowship in 2012, she was a post-doctoral research associate in the Department of Materials Science between 2008 and 2011. Dr Kar-Narayan received her PhD degree (2008) in physics, following an MSc degree (2004) from the Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore. She graduated with a BSc (Honours) degree from Presidency College, University of Calcutta in 2001.



Harvesting energy from ambient mechanical sources in our environment (e.g. underground tunnel vibrations, machinery, walking, etc.) has generated tremendous interest as it offers a fundamental energy solution for 'small power' applications, including but not limited to wireless sensors. In this context, piezoelectric and/or triboelectric materials offer the simplest means of directly converting mechanical vibrations, from sources such as moving parts of machines, fluid flow and even body movements, into electrical power for microscale device applications. In particular, nanoscale energy harvesters, or nanogenerators, are capable of converting low-level ambient vibrations into electrical energy, thus paving the way for the realisation of the next generation of self-powered devices. Polymer-based nanogenerators are attractive as they are inherently flexible and robust making them less prone to mechanical failure which is a key requirement for vibrational energy harvesters. They are also lightweight, easy and cheap to fabricate, lead free and biocompatible, but their energy harvesting performance is often found lacking in comparison to more commonly studied inorganic materials. My group thus develops scalable nanofabrication techniques for flexible and low-cost polymer-based nanogenerators with improved energy conversion efficiency, by using facile template-assisted nanowire growth techniques. In this talk, I will discuss our recent advances in incorporating polymer and cellulose nanowires into scalable piezoelectric and triboelectric nanogenerators, as well as the design and performance of polymer-ceramic nanocomposite nanogenerators. I will also introduce advanced scanning probe microscopy methods that we use for the characterization of these polymeric nanomaterials and the extraction of relevant materials properties for nanogenerator design.



5.00pm: Registration

5.30pm: Dr Sohini Kar-Narayan's talk: Nanogenerators for Energy Harvesting Applications followed by Q&As

6.30pm: Networking

7pm: Event closes



Places are limited, prior booking is essential.

The talk is organised in collaboration between the Maxwell Centre and the Cambridge Network.

To register please visit event page on Cambridge Network's portal or contact .