Environmentally adaptive power generation is attractive for the development of next-generation energy sources. Here we develop a heterogeneous moisture-enabled electric generator (HMEG) based on a bilayer of polyelectrolyte films. Through the spontaneous adsorption of water molecules in air and induced diffusion of oppositely charged ions, one single HMEG unit can produce a high voltage of ~0.95 V at low (25%) relative humidity (RH), and even jump to 1.38 V at 85% RH. A sequentially aligned stacking strategy is created for large-scale integration of HMEG units, to offer a voltage of more than 1,000 V under ambient conditions (25% RH, 25 °C). Using origami assembly, a small section of folded HMEGs renders an output of up to 43 V cm−3. Such integration devices supply sufficient power to illuminate a lamp bulb of 10 W, to drive a dynamic electronic ink screen and to control the gate voltage for a self-powered field effect transistor.
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The data that support the findings of this paper are available from the corresponding authors upon reasonable request.
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This work was supported by the National Key R&D Program of China (no. 2017YFB1104300), the National Science Foundation of China (nos. 22035005, 52022051, 22075165, 52073159 and 52090030), Tsinghua University Initiative Scientific Research Program (no. 2019Z08QCX08), NSFC-STINT (no. 21911530143), the State Key Laboratory of Tribology (no. SKLT2021B03) and Tsinghua-Foshan Innovation Special Fund (no. 2018THFS0412). This work is also supported by grant no. 2019GQG1025 from the Institute for Guo Qiang, Tsinghua University.
The authors declare no competing interests.
Peer review information Nature Nanotechnology thanks Guihua Yu and the other, anonymous, reviewer(s) for their contribution to the peer review of this work.
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Wang, H., Sun, Y., He, T. et al. Bilayer of polyelectrolyte films for spontaneous power generation in air up to an integrated 1,000 V output. Nat. Nanotechnol. 16, 811–819 (2021). https://doi.org/10.1038/s41565-021-00903-6