Single-layer MoS2 nanopores as nanopower generators

JD Feng and M Graf and K Liu and D Ovchinnikov and D Dumcenco and M Heiranian and V Nandigana and NR Aluru and A Kis and A Radenovic, NATURE, 536, 197-+ (2016).

DOI: 10.1038/nature18593

Making use of the osmotic pressure difference between fresh water and seawater is an attractive, renewable and clean way to generate power and is known as 'blue energy'(1-3). Another electrokinetic phenomenon, called the streaming potential, occurs when an electrolyte is driven through narrow pores either by a pressure gradient(4) or by an osmotic potential resulting from a salt concentration gradient(5). For this task, membranes made of two-dimensional materials are expected to be the most efficient, because water transport through a membrane scales inversely with membrane thickness(5-7). Here we demonstrate the use of single-layer molybdenum disulfide (MoS2) nanopores as osmotic nanopower generators. We observe a large, osmotically induced current produced from a salt gradient with an estimated power density of up to 10(6) watts per square metre-a current that can be attributed mainly to the atomically thin membrane of MoS2. Low power requirements for nanoelectronic and optoelectric devices can be provided by a neighbouring nanogenerator that harvests energy from the local environment(8-11)-for example, a piezoelectric zinc oxide nanowire array(8) or single-layer MoS2 (ref. 12). We use our MoS2 nanopore generator to power a MoS2 transistor, thus demonstrating a self-powered nanosystem.

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