Transcutaneous ultrasound energy harvesting using capacitive triboelectric technology

Ronan Hinchet, Hong Joon Yoon, Hanjun Ryu, Moo Kang Kim, Eue Keun Choi, Dong Sun Kim, Sang Woo Kim

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


A major challenge for implantable medical systems is the inclusion or reliable delivery of electrical power. We use ultrasound to deliver mechanical energy through skin and liquids and demonstrate a thin implantable vibrating triboelectric generator able to effectively harvest it. The ultrasound can induce micrometer-scale displacement of a polymer thin membrane to generate electrical energy through contact electrification. We recharge a lithium-ion battery at a rate of 166 microcoulombs per second in water. The voltage and current generated ex vivo by ultrasound energy transfer reached 2.4 volts and 156 microamps under porcine tissue. These findings show that a capacitive triboelectric electret is the first technology able to compete with piezoelectricity to harvest ultrasound in vivo and to power medical implants.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)491-494
Number of pages4
Issue number6452
Publication statusPublished - 2019 Aug 2

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This work was financially supported by the Basic Science Research Program (2018R1A2A1A19021947) through the National Research Foundation (NRF) of Korea Grant funded by the Ministry of Science and the Industrial Strategic Technology Development Program (10052668, Development of wearable self-powered energy source and low-power wireless communication system for a pacemaker), which is funded by the Ministry of Trade, Industry & Energy (M.I., Korea).

Publisher Copyright:
© 2019 American Association for the Advancement of Science. All rights reserved.

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General


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