Micro energy collectors for the Internet of Things: Page 2 of 2

October 10, 2018 //By Christoph Hammerschmidt
Micro energy collectors for the Internet of Things
With thin organic layers on warm surfaces, energy recuperators can be implemented on a nanoscale. In future, these could be applied to pipes or similar surfaces in order to convert previously wasted waste heat into electricity. For this purpose, researchers from the Fraunhofer Institute for Material and Beam Technology IWS in Dresden are using ink, based on conductive polymers.

With the polymer technology from the Fraunhofer IWS, this could change in the future. The researchers from Dresden have taken an important step: they have found a way to liquefy polymers of the n-type and then process them further. What's important here is that your polymer layers remain comparatively stable under everyday conditions. This is not something that can be taken for granted. Such long organic molecules tend to age and lose their special properties when they come into contact with air.

IWS researchers Roman Tkachov and Lukas Stepien have developed a multi-stage process to produce their inks on the basis of conductive polymers. This allows high-quality, smooth layer structures that - depending on the process - are only one tenth to ten micrometers thick. This in turn allows for more compact and effective components than the polymers previously used. The researchers also see considerable potential for their technology in the construction of organic transistors and solar cells. Until then, however, some research work still needs to be done.

Initially, the engineers will concentrate on further increasing the electrical conductivity of their polymers. They also want to produce the first prototypes of thermoelectric generators from their new materials. In addition, their next efforts will focus on increasing efficiency.

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