Flexible power fabrics made of carbon nanotubes for harvesting thermoelectricity. Academic Article uri icon


  • Thermoelectric energy conversion is very effective in capturing low-grade waste heat to supply electricity particularly to small devices such as sensors, wireless communication units, and wearable electronics. Conventional thermoelectric materials, however, are often inadequately brittle, expensive, toxic, and heavy. We developed both p- and n-type fabric-like flexible lightweight materials by functionalizing the large surfaces and junctions in carbon nanotube (CNT) mats. The poor thermopower and only p-type characteristics of typical CNTs have been converted into both p- and n-type with high thermopower. The changes in the electronic band diagrams of the CNTs were experimentally investigated, elucidating the carrier type and relatively large thermopower values. With our optimized device design to maximally utilize temperature gradients, an electrochromic glucose sensor was successfully operated without batteries or external power supplies, demonstrating self-powering capability. While our fundamental study provides a method of tailoring electronic transport properties, our device-level integration shows the feasibility of harvesting electrical energy by attaching the device to even curved surfaces like human bodies.

published proceedings

  • ACS Nano

altmetric score

  • 2

author list (cited authors)

  • Kim, S. L., Choi, K., Tazebay, A., & Yu, C.

citation count

  • 183

complete list of authors

  • Kim, Suk Lae||Choi, Kyungwho||Tazebay, Abdullah||Yu, Choongho

publication date

  • March 2014