Optimization of contact-mode triboelectric nanogeneration for high energy conversion efficiency


The rapid growth of flexible and wearable electronics makes it an urgent requirement to develop mobile and sustainable energy sources for these devices. Triboelectric nanogenerator (TENG) stands out for its outstanding performance. However, high output performance and energy conversion efficiency TENG still remains one of the most crucial barriers for practical applications. In this paper, we systematically analyze the relationship of maximum instantaneous output power and energy conversion efficiency with the material parameters, structural parameters and experimental parameters. Firstly, we obtain the explicit equations for the transferred charge, output voltage, output current and maximum instantaneous power from the contactmode model and governing equation. Then it is deeply studied how the material parameters, structure parameters and experimental condition can influence the output performance. Finally, the relationship of energy conversion efficiency with the TENG parameters is investigated to provide guidance for rational design of TENG. The high efficiency energy source could greatly promote the development of flexible electronics.

This is a preview of subscription content, access via your institution.


  1. 1

    Bruce P G, Freunberger S A, Hardwick L J, et al. Li-O-2 and Li-S batteries with high energy storage. Nat Mater, 2012, 11: 19–29

    Article  Google Scholar 

  2. 2

    Burschka J, Pellet N, Moon S J, et al. Sequential deposition as a route to high-performance perovskite-sensitized solar cells. Nature, 2013, 499: 316–320

    Article  Google Scholar 

  3. 3

    Larcher D, Tarascon J M. Towards greener and more sustainable batteries for electrical energy storage. Nat Chem, 2015, 7: 19–29

    Article  Google Scholar 

  4. 4

    Wang Z L, Song J. Piezoelectric nanogenerators based on zinc oxide nanowire arrays. Science, 2006, 312: 242–246

    Article  Google Scholar 

  5. 5

    Fan F R, Tian Z Q, Wang Z L. Flexible triboelectric generator. Nano Energy, 2012, 1: 328–334

    Article  Google Scholar 

  6. 6

    Yang Y, Guo W X, Pradel K C, et al. Pyroelectric nanogenerators for harvesting thermoelectric energy. Nano Lett, 2012, 12: 2833–2838

    Article  Google Scholar 

  7. 7

    Zhu G, Chen J, Liu Y, et al. Linear-grating triboelectric generator based on sliding electrification. Nano Lett, 2013, 13: 2282–2289

    Article  Google Scholar 

  8. 8

    Yang Y, Zhang H L, Chen J, et al. Single-electrode-based sliding triboelectric nanogenerator for self-powered displacement vector sensor system. ACS Nano, 2013, 7: 7342–7351

    Article  Google Scholar 

  9. 9

    Wang S H, Xie Y N, Niu S M, et al. Freestanding triboelectric-layer-based nanogenerators for harvesting energy from a moving object or human motion in contact and non-contact modes. Adv Mater, 2014, 26: 2818–2824

    Article  Google Scholar 

  10. 10

    Bai P, Zhu G, Jing Q S, et al. Membrane-based self-powered triboelectric sensors for pressure change detection and its uses in security surveillance and healthcare monitoring. Adv Funct Mater, 2015, 24: 5807–5813

    Article  Google Scholar 

  11. 11

    Yeh M H, Lin L, Yang P K, et al. Motion-driven electrochromic reactions for self-powered smart window system. ACS Nano, 2015, 9: 4757–4765

    Article  Google Scholar 

  12. 12

    Jing Q S, Xie Y N, Zhu G, et al. Self-powered thin-film motion vector sensor. Nat Commun, 2015, 6: 8031

    Article  Google Scholar 

  13. 13

    Yang P K, Lin L, Yi F, et al. A flexible, stretchable and shape-adaptive approach for versatile energy conversion and self-powered biomedical monitoring. Adv Mater, 2015, 27: 3817–3824

    Article  Google Scholar 

  14. 14

    Wang Z L, Zhu G, Yang J, et al. Personalized keystroke dynamics for self-powered human–machine interfacing. ACS Nano, 2015, 9: 105–116

    Article  Google Scholar 

  15. 15

    Shi B J, Zheng Q, Jiang W, et al. A packaged self-powered system with universal connectors based on hybridized nanogenerators. Adv Mater, 2016, 28: 846–852

    Article  Google Scholar 

  16. 16

    Yi F, Wang X F, Niu S M, et al. A highly shape-adaptive, stretchable design based on conductive liquid for energy harvesting and self-powered biomechanical monitoring. Sci Adv, 2016, 2: 1501624

    Article  Google Scholar 

  17. 17

    Song P Y, Kuang S Y, Panwar N, et al. A self-powered implantable drug-delivery system using biokinetic energy. Adv Mater, 2017, 29: 1605668

    Article  Google Scholar 

  18. 18

    Niu S M, Wang S H, Lin L, et al. Theoretical study of contact-mode triboelectric nanogenerators as an effective power source. Energy Environ Sci, 2013, 6: 3576–3583

    Article  Google Scholar 

  19. 19

    Jiang T, Zhang L M, Chen X Y, et al. Structural optimization of triboelectric nanogenerator for harvesting water wave energy. ACS Nano, 2015, 9: 12562–12572

    Article  Google Scholar 

  20. 20

    Fan F R, Lin L, Zhu G, et al. Transparent triboelectric nanogenerators and self-powered pressure sensors based on micropatterned plastic films. Nano Lett, 2012, 12: 3109–3114

    Article  Google Scholar 

  21. 21

    Yang Y, Zhou Y S, Zhang H L, et al. A single-electrode based triboelectric nanogenerator as self-powered tracking system. Adv Mater, 2013, 25: 6594–6601

    Article  Google Scholar 

  22. 22

    Wang J, Li S M, Yi F, et al. Sustainably powering wearable electronics solely by biomechanical energy. Nat Commun, 2016, 7: 12744

    Article  Google Scholar 

  23. 23

    Zhu G, Lin Z H, Jing Q S, et al. Toward large-scale energy harvesting by a nanoparticle-enhanced triboelectric nanogenerator. Nano Lett, 2013, 13: 847–853

    Article  Google Scholar 

  24. 24

    Chen H M, Xu Y, Bai L, et al. Crumpled graphene triboelectric nanogenerators: smaller devices with higher output performance. Adv Mater Technol, 2017, 2: 1700044

    Article  Google Scholar 

  25. 25

    Lin Z H, Xie Y N, Yang Y, et al. Enhanced triboelectric nanogenerators and triboelectric nanosensor using chemically modified TiO2 nanomaterials. ACS Nano, 2013, 7: 4554–4560

    Article  Google Scholar 

  26. 26

    Wang S H, Xie Y N, Niu S M, et al. Maximum surface charge density for triboelectric nanogenerators achieved by ionized-air injection: methodology and theoretical understanding. Adv Mater, 2014, 26: 6720–6728

    Article  Google Scholar 

  27. 27

    Chun J S, Ye B U, Lee J W, et al. Boosted output performance of triboelectric nanogenerator via electric double layer effect. Nat Commun, 2016, 7: 12985

    Article  Google Scholar 

  28. 28

    Lee J W, Cho H J, Chun J, et al. Robust nanogenerators based on graft copolymers via control of dielectrics for remarkable output power enhancement. Sci Adv, 2017, 3: 1602902

    Article  Google Scholar 

Download references


This work was supported by National Basic Research Program of China (973 Program) (Grant No. 2015CB351902), National Key Research and Development Plan (Grant Nos. 2016YFB0400601, 2016YFB0402402), National Natural Science Foundation of China (Grant No. U1431231), Beijing Science and Technology Projects (Grant No. Z151100001615042), Key Research Projects of the Frontier Science of Chinese Academy of Sciences (Grant No. QYZDYSSW-JSC004).

Author information



Corresponding author

Correspondence to Yun Xu.

Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

About this article

Verify currency and authenticity via CrossMark

Cite this article

Chen, H., Xu, Y., Bai, L. et al. Optimization of contact-mode triboelectric nanogeneration for high energy conversion efficiency. Sci. China Inf. Sci. 61, 060416 (2018). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11432-018-9384-7

Download citation


  • flexible electronics
  • triboelectric nanogenerator
  • output performance
  • energy
  • efficiency