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Chinese scientists discover new material that may allow us to charge our smartphones with our clothes

(People's Daily Online)    15:48, July 24, 2017

Professor Xiong Rengen shows his new findings in the lab. (Photo/Chinanews.com)

Can you imagine the day when you can charge your smartphone simply by stretching in your clothes? A research team from China’s Southeast University has found a new organic-based piezoelectric material that could help this become reality, Chinanews.com reported.

Piezoelectricity refers to electric polarization in a substance, especially certain crystals, caused by mechanical stress. According to Professor Xiong Rengen, who heads the research team, piezoelectric materials have already been applied to various fields, such as spaceflights, submarines, missiles, and medical ultrasounds.

Traditional inorganic piezoelectric materials, such as ceramic, are too stiff to be attached to thin films or electronic components. In addition, thin films and most electronic components get damaged in the extremely high temperatures under which those materials are made.

The new organic piezoelectric materials (Photo/Chinanews.com)

The new organic-based perovskite structured piezoelectric material is far more pliable yet has a piezoelectric response similar to traditional materials. It is also cheaper, lighter, and more environmentally-friendly.

"The molecular piezoelectric materials will further shrink the size of computer chips, making it possible to manufacture flexible heart rate meters and ultrasound machines," Xiong noted, expressing his confidence in the future application of the material.

The research on this new material was published in the Science on July 21, making China a leader in the field of molecular material research. 

(For the latest China news, Please follow People's Daily on Twitter and Facebook)(Web editor: Du Mingming, Bianji)

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