Dr. Zhong Lin Wang

DBR Distinguished Speaker Series 2015-2016

The 2015-16 D.B. Robinson speaker series opens this month with two talks on alternate energy sources by renowned researcher Zhong Lin Wang of the Georgia Institute of Technology.

He delivers a talk on piezotronics and piezo-photonics September 24; and on Sept. 25 he delivers a talk entitled “Triboelectric nanogenerator for self-powered systems and Large-Scale Blue Energy.” Both talks begin at 3:30 p.m. in E1-011, ETLC.

"Piezotronics and Piezo-phototronics"


Piezoelectricity, a phenomenon known for centuries, is an effect that is about the production of electrical potential in a substance as the pressure on it changes. For wurtzite structures such as ZnO, GaN, InN and ZnS, due to the polarization of ions in a crystal that has non-central symmetry, a piezoelectric potential (piezopotential) is created in the crystal by applying a stress. The effect of piezopotential to the transport behavior of charge carriers is significant due to their multiple functionalities of piezoelectricity, semiconductor and photon excitation. By utilizing the advantages offered by these properties, a few new fields have been created. Electronics fabricated by using inner-crystal piezopotential as a “gate” voltage to tune/control the charge transport behavior is named piezotronics, with applications in strain/force/pressure triggered/controlled electronic devices, sensors and logic units. This effect was also extended to 2D materials such as MoS2. Piezo-phototronic effect is a result of three-way coupling among piezoelectricity, photonic excitation and semiconductor transport, which allows tuning and controlling of electro-optical processes by strain induced piezopotential. The objective of this talk is to introduce the fundamentals of piezotronics and piezo-phototronics and to give an updated progress about their applications in energy science (LED, solar) and sensors (photon detector and human-CMOS interfacing).

"Triboelectric nanogenerator for self-powered systems and large-scale blue energy"


Triboelectrification is an effect that is known to each and every one probably ever since the ancient Greek time, but it is usually taken as a negative effect and is avoided in many technologies. We have recently invented a triboelectric nanogenerator (TENG) that is used to convert mechanical energy into electricity by a conjunction of triboelectrification and electrostatic induction.
As for this power generation unit, in the inner circuit, a potential is created by the triboelectric effect due to the charge transfer between two thin organic/inorganic films that exhibit opposite tribo-polarity; in the outer circuit, electrons are driven to flow between two electrodes attached on the back sides of the films in order to balance the potential.
Ever since the first report of the TENG in January 2012, the output power density of TENG has been improved for five orders of magnitude within 12 months. The area power density reaches 500 W/m2, volume density reaches 490 kW/m3, and a conversion efficiency of ~50% has been demonstrated.
The TENG can be applied to harvest all kinds of mechanical energy that is available but wasted in our daily life, such as human motion, walking, vibration, mechanical triggering, rotating tire, wind, flowing water and more.
Alternatively, TENG can also be used as a self-powered sensor for actively detecting the static and dynamic processes arising from mechanical agitation using the voltage and current output signals of the TENG, respectively, with potential applications for touch pad and smart skin technologies. The TENG is possible not only for self-powered portable electronics, but also as a new energy technology with a potential of contributing to the world energy in the near future.


Zhong Lin (ZL) Wang is the Hightower Chair in Materials Science and Engineering and Regents' Professor at Georgia Tech.

Wang has made original and innovative contributions to the synthesis, discovery, characterization and understanding of fundamental physical properties of oxide nanobelts and nanowires, as well as applications of nanowires in energy sciences, electronics, optoelectronics and biological science. His discovery and breakthroughs in developing nanogenerators establish the principle and technological road map for harvesting mechanical energy from environment and biological systems for powering a personal electronics. His research on self-powered nanosystems has inspired the worldwide effort in academia and industry for studying energy for micro-nano-systems, which is now a distinct disciplinary in energy research and future sensor networks. He coined and pioneered the field of piezotronics and piezo-phototronics by introducing piezoelectric potential gated charge transport process in fabricating new electronic and optoelectronic devices.

This breakthrough by redesign CMOS transistor has important applications in smart MEMS/NEMS, nanorobotics, human-electronics interface and sensors.

Wang was elected as a foreign member of the Chinese Academy of Sciences in 2009, member of European Academy of Sciences in 2002, fellow of American Physical Society in 2005, fellow of AAAS in 2006, fellow of Materials Research Society in 2008, fellow of Microscopy Society of America in 2010, fellow of Royal Society of Chemistry, and fellow of the World Innovation Foundation in 2002. He received 2014 World Technology Prize in Materials; 2014 the James C. McGroddy Prize for New Materials from America Physical Society, 2013 ACS Nano Lectureship award, 2012 Edward Orton Memorial Lecture Award and 2009 Purdy Award from American Ceramic Society, 2011 MRS Medal from the Materials Research Society, 1999 Burton Medal from Microscopy Society of America. He has authored and co-authored 6 scientific reference and textbooks and over 1030 peer reviewed journal articles (16 in Nature and Science, 8 in Nature sister journals), edited and co-edited 14 volumes of books on nanotechnology, and held over 100 US and foreign patents. From SCI data base, his entire publications have been cited for over 84,000 times with an h-index of 140 [http://www.researcherid.com/rid/E-2176-2011]; Google scholar gives a citation of 127,000 with an h-index of 169 [http://scholar.google.com/citations?user=HeHFFW8AAAAJ&hl=en]. He has delivered over 850 plenary, keynote, invited and seminar talks at international and national conferences as well as universities and research institutes worldwide. Details can be found at: http://www.nanoscience.gatech.edu

Dr. Zhong Lin Wang

Hightower Chair in Materials Science and Engineering and Regents' Professor at Georgia Tech.


September 24 and 25, 2015


3:30 pm - 4:30 pm


ETLC 1-001