Three-dimensional piezoelectric polymer microsystems for vibrational energy harvesting, robotic interfaces and biomedical implants

Mengdi Han, Heling Wang, Yiyuan Yang, Cunman Liang, Wubin Bai, Zheng Yan, Haibo Li, Yeguang Xue, Xinlong Wang, Banu Akar, Hangbo Zhao, Haiwen Luan, Jaeman Lim, Irawati Kandela, Guillermo A. Ameer, Yihui Zhang, Yonggang Huang*, John A. Rogers

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

324 Scopus citations


Piezoelectric microsystems are of use in areas such as mechanical sensing, energy conversion and robotics. The systems typically have a planar structure, but transforming them into complex three-dimensional (3D) frameworks could enhance and extend their various modes of operation. Here, we report a controlled, nonlinear buckling process to convert lithographically defined two-dimensional patterns of electrodes and thin films of piezoelectric polymers into sophisticated 3D piezoelectric microsystems. To illustrate the engineering versatility of the approach, we create more than twenty different 3D geometries. With these structures, we then demonstrate applications in energy harvesting with tailored mechanical properties and root-mean-square voltages ranging from 2 mV to 790 mV, in multifunctional sensors for robotic prosthetic interfaces with improved responsivity (for example, anisotropic responses and sensitivity of 60 mV N −1 for normal force), and in bio-integrated devices with in vivo operational capabilities. The 3D geometries, especially those with ultralow stiffnesses or asymmetric layouts, yield unique mechanical attributes and levels of functionality that would be difficult or impossible to achieve with conventional two-dimensional designs.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)26-35
Number of pages10
JournalNature Electronics
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1 2019

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Electronic, Optical and Magnetic Materials
  • Instrumentation
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering


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