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This research activity at CNR-IMM in Lecce aims at preparing innovative composite thin coatings that exhibit piezoelectric features for the fabrication of new, versatile devices for different applications in energy harvesting for wearable sensors, devices and large area coating applications. The seeking for reliable energy sources has pushed both the scientific and industrial communities toward the development of innovative systems for harvesting the renewable energy. The mechanical energy seems to be one of the preferred ways for generating electricity that can be easily stored/harvested and directly used. To this aim, piezoelectric materials clearly demonstrated their reliability as energy converters. Piezoelectric materials are based on either fully inorganic bulky components (lead zirconate titanate, ZnO wires) or fully organic films (PVDF). The investigated system will consist of a curable polymer matrix, filled with different piezoelectric nanostructures (ZnO submicroparticles having different aspect ratio, partially oxidized graphene, molybdenite and other 2D graphene-like nanofillers). ZnO has been already assessed as a nanofiller for sensing applications and will be exploited both as energy harvester and gas-sensing material in the proposed film platform. The selected fillers will be dispersed at different loadings in thermo- or photo-curable acrylic or epoxy resins, to obtain thin films (thickness: 30-500 micron) and/or MEMS platforms integration. Pre-curing dielectrophoretic (DEP) alignment of 1D fillers will be performed by micro/nanofabrication of vertical microelectrodes on SOI (Si-On-Insulator) substrates, aiming to increase the conversion efficiency of the coatings (in cooperation with CNR-IMAMOTER and Polytechnic University of Turin).


Contact person: Luca Francioso