Formation of Triboelectric Series via Atomic-Level Surface Functionalization for Triboelectric Energy Harvesting

Sung Ho Shin, Young Eun Bae, Hyun Kyung Moon, Jungkil Kim, Suk Ho Choi, Yongho Kim, Hyo Jae Yoon, Min Hyung Lee, Junghyo Nah

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

158 Citations (Scopus)


Triboelectric charging involves frictional contact of two different materials, and their contact electrification usually relies on polarity difference in the triboelectric series. This limits the choices of materials for triboelectric contact pairs, hindering research and development of energy harvest devices utilizing triboelectric effect. A progressive approach to resolve this issue involves modification of chemical structures of materials for effectively engineering their triboelectric properties. Here, we describe a facile method to change triboelectric property of a polymeric surface via atomic-level chemical functionalizations using a series of halogens and amines, which allows a wide spectrum of triboelectric series over single material. Using this method, tunable triboelectric output power density is demonstrated in triboelectric generators. Furthermore, molecular-scale calculation using density functional theory unveils that electrons transferred through electrification are occupying the PET group rather than the surface functional group. The work introduced here would open the ability to tune triboelectric property of materials by chemical modification of surface and facilitate the development of energy harvesting devices and sensors exploiting triboelectric effect.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)6131-6138
Number of pages8
JournalACS Nano
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 2017 Jun 27


  • chemical surface functionalization
  • kinetic energy harvesting
  • solution-based process
  • triboelectric generators
  • triboelectric series

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Materials Science
  • General Engineering
  • General Physics and Astronomy


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