Energy Harvesters for Wearable and Stretchable Electronics: From Flexibility to Stretchability.Adv Mater 2016; 28(45):9881-9919AM
The rapid advancements of wearable electronics have caused a paradigm shift in consumer electronics, and the emerging development of stretchable electronics opens a new spectrum of applications for electronic systems. Playing a critical role as the power sources for independent electronic systems, energy harvesters with high flexibility or stretchability have been the focus of research efforts over the past decade. A large number of the flexible energy harvesters developed can only operate at very low strain level (≈0.1%), and their limited flexibility impedes their application in wearable or stretchable electronics. Here, the development of highly flexible and stretchable (stretchability >15% strain) energy harvesters is reviewed with emphasis on strategies of materials synthesis, device fabrication, and integration schemes for enhanced flexibility and stretchability. Due to their particular potential applications in wearable and stretchable electronics, energy-harvesting devices based on piezoelectricity, triboelectricity, thermoelectricity, and dielectric elastomers have been largely developed and the progress is summarized. The challenges and opportunities of assembly and integration of energy harvesters into stretchable systems are also discussed.