Raising the Working Temperature of a Triboelectric Nanogenerator by Quenching Down Electron Thermionic Emission in Contact-Electrification

Cheng Xu, Aurelia Chi Wang, Haiyang Zou, Binbin Zhang, Chunli Zhang, Yunlong Zi, Lun Pan, Peihong Wang, Peizhong Feng, Zhiqun Lin, Zhong Lin Wang

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206 Scopus citations


As previously demonstrated, contact-electrification (CE) is strongly dependent on temperature, however the highest temperature in which a triboelectric nanogenerator (TENG) can still function is unknown. Here, by designing and preparing a rotating free-standing mode Ti/SiO2 TENG, the relationship between CE and temperature is revealed. It is found that the dominant deterring factor of CE at high temperatures is the electron thermionic emission. Although it is normally difficult for CE to occur at temperatures higher than 583 K, the working temperature of the rotating TENG can be raised to 673 K when thermionic emission is prevented by direct physical contact of the two materials via preannealing. The surface states model is proposed for explaining the experimental phenomenon. Moreover, the developed electron cloud-potential well model accounts for the CE mechanism with temperature effects for all types of materials. The model indicates that besides thermionic emission of electrons, the atomic thermal vibration also influences CE. This study is fundamentally important for understanding triboelectrification, which will impact the design and improve the TENG for practical applications in a high temperature environment.

Original languageEnglish
Article number1803968
JournalAdvanced Materials
Issue number38
StatePublished - 20 Sep 2018

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
C.X., A.C.W., H.Z., and B.Z. contributed equally to this work. The authors are grateful for the support received from Hightower Chair foundation, MANA, NIMS (Japan), the National Key R & D Project from Minister of Science and Technology (2016YFA0202704), China, National Natural Science Foundation of China (51432005, 5151101243, and 51561145021). C.X. thanks the Six Talent Peaks Project in Jiangsu Province, China (2015-XCL-009) and the Outstanding Teacher Overseas Research Project of China University of Mining and Technology.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2018 WILEY-VCH Verlag GmbH & Co. KGaA, Weinheim


  • atomic thermal vibration
  • contact-electrification
  • nanogenerators
  • thermionic emission
  • triboelectrification


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