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Next Generation Triboelectric Nanogenerators for Wearable Energy Harvesting and Sensing


   Wolfson School of Mechanical, Electrical and Manufacturing Engineering

  Dr Ishara Dharmasena, ,  Applications accepted all year round  Self-Funded PhD Students Only

About the Project

The Wolfson School of Mechanical, Electrical and Manufacturing Engineering has seen 100% of its research impact rated as ‘world leading’ or ‘internationally excellent’, underlining the wide-ranging positive impacts that our research has on the world (REF, 2021).

In choosing Loughborough for your research, you’ll work alongside academics who are leaders in their field. You will benefit from comprehensive support and guidance from our Doctoral College, including tailored careers advice, to help you succeed in your research and future career. Find out more.

Project details

Wearable electronics will play a key role in our lives, with limitless future applications in healthcare, personal electronics, communication, sports, IoT and security sectors. Powering wearables is challenging as they require flexibility, autonomy, light weight, biocompatibility and sustainability, which cannot be fulfilled using conventional means like batteries and capacitors. Triboelectric Nanogenerators (TENGs), which can function as flexible power generators and self-powered sensors, is a leading alternative in this regard, facilitating flexibility and adequate output generation for many applications. However, TENGs face several drawbacks related to restricted power generation and management, low repeatability and high internal impedance. Wearable TENGs, in particular, are predominantly constructed using planar plastic sheets which cause challenges in wearability (e.g.: breathability, moisture management).

This project aims to design and develop the next generation high-performance wearable TENGs using functionalised textile materials for personal electronics and health monitoring applications. The pioneering design strategies invented in our group will be used to model and design the TENGs, which will be fabricated using scalable manufacturing techniques. This work will develop a new route through material modifications (e.g.: nano-treated textile materials) and structural enhancements (e.g.: 3D TENG designs) to maximise the output generation of the TENG while optimising their wearable properties. Finally, these enhanced TENGs will be used to fabricate wearable activity monitoring sensor units and power generators for remote health detection applications.

The project aligns closely with the recent RAEng Fellowship project of the primary supervisor (https://www.lboro.ac.uk/research/experts/ishara-dharmasena/), and the student will benefit from the world-leading experts in the TENG research at Loughborough and the partner universities in the UK. This also present excellent opportunities to work in collaboration with our industrial partners and universities in Europe and Asia.

Entry requirements:

Applicants should have, or expect to achieve, at least a 2:1 honours degree (or equivalent international qualifications) in engineering or a related subject.

English language requirements:

Applicants must meet the minimum English language requirements. Further details are available on the International website.

How to apply:

All applications should be made online. Under programme name, select ‘Electric and Electronic Engineering’. Please quote the advertised reference number UF-ID-2021 in your application. To avoid delays in processing your application please ensure that you submit the minimum supporting documents.


Funding Notes

Fee band:
UK: £4,500; international: £24,100

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