You searched for: “piezoelectrics
A field that aims to develop self-powered devices that do not require replaceable power supplies; such as, batteries.

A certain type of piezoelectric material can covert energy at a 100 percent increase when manufactured at a very small size; in this case, about 21 nanometers in thickness.

Many high-tech devices contain components that are measured in nanometers, which is a microscopic unit of measurement representing one-billionth of a meter; a human hair is about 100,000 nanometers wide.

Piezoelectrics are materials; usually, crystals or ceramics, which generate voltage when a form of mechanical stress is applied. They demonstrate a change in their physical properties when an electric field is applied.

Discovered by French scientists in the 1880's, piezoelectrics are not a new concept. They were first used in sonar devices during World War I.

Today they can be found in microphones and quartz watches. Cigarette lighters in automobiles also contain piezoelectrics. Pressing down the lighter button causes impact on a piezoelectric crystal which then produces enough voltage to create a spark and ignite the gas.

While advances in piezoelectrics applications are progressing, piezoelectric work at the nanoscale is a newer endeavor with different and complex aspects to consider; especially, because the size of a hair is much more pliable and susceptible to change from its surrounding environment than larger kinds of materials.

More research is being done to accomplish a self-powering cell phone that never needs to be charged because it will be able to convert sound waves produced by the user into the energy it needs to keep running without batteries.

—Compiled from information discovered in; science; physics, tech, and nano news; "Self-powered devices possible,
researcher Tahir Cagin says", who is a professor in the Artie McFerrin Department
of Chemical Engineering at Texas A&M University; December 1, 2008.
This entry is located in the following units: electro-, electr-, electri- (page 98) -ics, -tics [-ac after i] (page 30) piezo-, piez- + (page 2)