Triboelectrification induced self-powered microbial disinfection using nanowire-enhanced localized electric field

Zheng Yang Huo, Young Jun Kim, In Yong Suh, Dong Min Lee, Jeong Hwan Lee, Ye Du, Si Wang, Hong Joon Yoon, Sang Woo Kim

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Air-transmitted pathogens may cause severe epidemics showing huge threats to public health. Microbial inactivation in the air is essential, whereas the feasibility of existing air disinfection technologies meets challenges including only achieving physical separation but no inactivation, obvious pressure drops, and energy intensiveness. Here we report a rapid disinfection method toward air-transmitted bacteria and viruses using the nanowire-enhanced localized electric field to damage the outer structures of microbes. This air disinfection system is driven by a triboelectric nanogenerator that converts mechanical vibration to electricity effectively and achieves self-powered. Assisted by a rational design for the accelerated charging and trapping of microbes, this air disinfection system promotes microbial transport and achieves high performance: >99.99% microbial inactivation within 0.025 s in a fast airflow (2 m/s) while only causing low pressure drops (<24 Pa). This rapid, self-powered air disinfection method may fill the urgent need for air-transmitted microbial inactivation to protect public health.

Original languageEnglish
Article number3693
JournalNature communications
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2021 Dec 1

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This work was financially supported by Nano Material Technology Development Program (2020M3H4A1A03084600) through the National Research Foundation of Korea (NRF) funded by Ministry of Science and ICT and the GRRC program of Gyeonggi province (GRRC Sungkyunkwan 2017-B05). Z.-Y.H. acknowledges the support from the Korea Research Fellowship Program through the National Research Foundation of Korea (No. 2019H1D3A1A01102903). Z.-Y.H. also thanks the technical support from Dr. Rong Cheng from Renmin University of China and Dr. Jinling Xue from Helmholtz Zentrum München.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2021, The Author(s).

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Chemistry(all)
  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
  • Physics and Astronomy(all)


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