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Journal of Nanomaterials
Volume 2016, Article ID 5121572, 6 pages
Research Article

A Self-Powered Triboelectric Nanosensor for PH Detection

1Chongqing University of Science and Technology, Chongqing 401331, China
2State Key Laboratory of Electronic Thin Films and Integrated Devices, School of Optoelectronic Information, University of Electronic Science and Technology of China (UESTC), Chengdu 610054, China
3Beijing Institute of Nanoenergy and Nanosystems, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing 100083, China

Received 21 August 2015; Accepted 19 January 2016

Academic Editor: Owen J. Guy

Copyright © 2016 Ying Wu et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


A self-powered, sliding electrification based triboelectric sensor was developed for detecting PH value from a periodic contact/separation motion. This innovative, cost-effective, simply designed sensor is composed of a fluorinated ethylene propylene thin film and an array of electrodes underneath. The operation of the TENG (triboelectric nanogenerator) sensor relies on a repetitive emerging-submerging process with traveling solution waves, in which the coupling between triboelectrification and electrostatic induction gives rise to alternating flows of electrons between electrodes. On the basis of coupling effect between triboelectrification and electrostatic induction, the sensor generates electric output signals which are associated with PH value. Experimental results show that the output voltage of the TENG sensor increases with the increasing PH value, which indicate that the PH value of different solution can be real-time monitored. This work not only demonstrates a new principle in the field of PH value measurement but also greatly expands the applicability of triboelectric nanogenerator (TENG) as self-powered sensors.