Chemistry of triboelectric materials - Understanding the basic charge separation processes
The triboelectric effect describes the electrification of two similar or dissimilar materials as a result of rubbing or contact. However, the charge build-up through contacting has not gained much attention because of its adverse effects like electric shocks, short circuits, and machine failures. In this project, I look at the other side of the coin, namely the utilization of such a phenomenon to harvest energy. Therefore, the ultimate aim of my project is to understand the triboelectric effect and maximize the efficiency of triboelectric nanogenerators (TENGs) with functional materials. In my work, I use experimental techniques like Atomic Force Microscopy, Kelvin Probe Force Microscopy, X-Ray Photoelectron Spectroscopy, and Infrared spectroscopy to understand the charge generation and separation mechanisms at interfaces. This will provide deep insight into the physical origin of these charges and their manifestation at the interfaces, which will then be employed to harvest energy for the adaptive material system.