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Fabrication and characterization of a miniaturized BB-TENG

In the quest to overcome global warming by reducing the consumption of fossil fuels, scientists are continuously searching for alternative energy resources. Such a promising alternative was introduced in 2012 when researchers developed a  prototype triboelectric nanogenerator (TENG) in which mechanical energy can be harvested to generate electricity.1 This device is based on triboelectric charging in which two materials are rubbed against each other inducing electrical charge on both surfaces (like between a balloon and human hair)2. More recently, a bouncing ball TENG (BB-TENG) device has been fabricated to harness the energy generated by mechanical vibrations, in which several macroscopic balls bounce between two types of surfaces which can then be supplied to sensors on ships, planes, and trains.3


The assignment focuses on miniaturizing the BB-TENG device to the micro-scale by exploring our recent advances to produce ordered monolayers of microspheres on micro-structured substrates.4,5 The first task entails designing and fabricating a miniaturized BB-TENG in which a silicon substrate will serve as a platform to hold microspheres in pockets. Various particle types, e.g., silica, PS, and PMMA, with different diameters (10 – 50 μm) and electrodes, will be explored throughout the project. In a subsequent step, the performance of the fabricated BB-TENG will be characterized by measuring the electrostatic charge transfer when the BB-TENG is subjected to vibrations.


 1. Wang, S., Lin, L. & Wang, Z. L. Nanoscale triboelectric-effect-enabled energy conversion for sustainably powering portable electronics. Nano Lett. 12, 6339–6346 (2012).

2. Wang, Z. L. From contact electrification to triboelectric nanogenerators. Reports Prog. Phys. 84, 096502 (2021).

3. Li, G. et al. Numerical calculation and experimental investigation on optimization of bouncing ball triboelectric nanogenerator. Nano Energy 104, 107864 (2022).

4. Van Geite, W., Jimidar, I. S. M., Sotthewes, K., Gardeniers, H. & Desmet, G. Vacuum-driven assembly of electrostatically levitated microspheres on perforated surfaces. Mater. Des. 216, 110573 (2022).

5. Verloy, S., Vankeerberghen, B., Jimidar, I., Gardeniers, H. & Desmet, G. Wafer-Scale Particle Assembly in Connected and Isolated Micromachined Pockets via PDMS Rubbing. Langmuir 38, 7709–7719.


Ignaas Jimidar; E-mail: i.s.m.jimidar@utwente.nl