Wireless charging of a phone in a car is no longer a novelty, although this requires at least a special panel or mat on which the phone will lie. But thanks to the newly developed nanogenerator material, mobile devices can be charged anywhere in the car - drawing energy from vibrations.
Developed by an international team of scientists from universities in the United States and China, the nano-generating material can be embedded directly into the phone case. The material is a piezoelectric polymer known as polyvinylidene fluoride or PVDF. Like all piezoelectric materials, it generates electricity when subjected to mechanical stress.
To obtain the material, scientists embedded zinc oxide particles into a thin polymer film, and then etched them. As a result, small interconnected pores were formed. The presence of pores in the normally rigid PVDF material gave it a sponge-like structure, which gave it the ability to deform while generating electricity.
A thin film of such a material placed between two electrode plates can generate electricity while remaining flexible. Because of this property, the material can be used not only in hard phone cases, but also on uneven surfaces, including even human skin.