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2-min read

IIT Kharagpur Team Develops Self-Powered Wearable Technology

This material has the potential to spawn prototype textile-based smart electronic devices for soldiers and defence personnel as well as for biomedical applications.


Updated:June 14, 2017, 8:24 PM IST
IIT Kharagpur Team Develops Self-Powered Wearable Technology
File photo of IIT Kharagpur building.
A team of experts at the Indian Institute of Technology - Kharagpur has fashioned a hybrid material based on silk protein called silk fibroin.

This novel material has the potential to spawn prototype textile-based smart electronic devices for soldiers and defence personnel as well as for biomedical applications.

"We have designed a hybrid photo detector using zinc oxide nanostructures on gold nanoparticle-embedded silk protein for applications that combine electronics and light," Samit K. Ray, currently officiating as the Director of S.N. Bose National Centre for Basic Sciences, Kolkata (on lien), told IANS.

A photo detector operates by converting light signals to a voltage or current.

"The hybrid material can store data and can detect light, both in the ultraviolet and visible wavelength range, thereby offering greater sensitivity and scope of detection," Ray said.

The USP of the hybrid material is its flexibility, stretchability, biocompatibility and biodegradability.

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"These properties are due to a combination of silk fibroin and semi-conducting zinc oxide in presence of gold nanoparticles," Ray noted.

"Bombyx mori silk worms are the main producers of silk fibroins worldwide in the form of cocoons. These fibroins are attractive due to their high mechanical strength, toughness, thermal stability and biocompatibility/ biodegradability," elaborated Ray.

Although 95 per cent of commercial electronics and computing systems deploy silicon as the semi-conductor material, the team opted for zinc oxide instead, Ray said.

"Conventional silicon chip is usually considered to be rigid, as brittle and breakable as window glass. Zinc oxide nanorod array embedded in silk platform is flexible and can withstand mechanical stress and bending.

"Moreover, the zinc oxide, under mechanical stress, generates electrical energy. This means these devices can be powered by the energy generated when a soldier is moving about," Ray said.

This was important for crafting self-powered, flexible photo detector (light detector) devices, according to Ray.

"In remote locations where power sources are scarce, the wearable technology can power up by mere movement of the user," added Ray.

Narendar Gogurla and Subhas C. Kundu are the co-authors of the study published in the journal Nanotechnology.

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(Get detailed and live results of each and every seat in the Lok Sabha elections and state Assembly elections in Andhra Pradesh, Odisha, Arunachal Pradesh and Sikkim to know which candidate/party is leading or trailing and to know who has won and who has lost and by what margin. Our one-of-its-kind Election Analytics Centre lets you don a psephologist’s hat and turn into an election expert. Know interesting facts and trivia about the elections and see our informative graphics. Elections = News18)
| Edited by: Sarthak Dogra
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