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Nanogenerators: Tiny Tech, Big Questions
by Staff
Nanogenerators can turn subtle body movements like your heartbeat into power for electronic devices. Think you have what it takes to power through our nanogenerator quiz?

The "nano" in nanotechnology suggests that the components inside can be measured in nanometers. How long is a nanometer?

  • One billionth of a meter
  • One millionth of a meter
  • One hundred thousandth of a meter

What term is used to describe a material that generates an electric current just by bending or it?

  • Kinetic
  • Photoelectric
  • Piezoelectric

True or false: Researchers have been able to get the same output from nanogenerators as from a pair of AA batteries.

  • True
  • False

How did researchers Michael McAlpine and Prashant Purohit overcome the problem with the piezoelectric material PZT being extremely brittle?

  • They created nanowires and grouped them together in bundles.
  • They created nanoribbons and formed them into in a wave pattern.
  • They fused the PZT and the substrate.

Zhong Lin (Z.L.) Wang of the Georgia Institute of Technology lead the first research group to build nanogenerators from which piezoelectric material?

  • Sodium potassium niobate (NaKNb)
  • Lead zirconate titanate (PZT)
  • Zinc oxide (ZnO)

Researcher Michael McAlpine of Princeton has developed nanogenerators using which piezoelectric material?

  • Sodium potassium niobate (NaKNb)
  • Lead zirconate titanate (PZT)
  • Zinc oxide (ZnO)

How wide is a single nanowire made from zinc oxide?

  • 50 - 100 nm
  • 100 - 300 nm
  • 100 microns

True or false: Nanogenerators turn a renewable resource into electricity.

  • True
  • False

How long is a single nanowire made from zinc oxide?

  • 50 - 100 nm
  • 100 - 300 nm
  • 100 microns

What kinds of devices has Z.L. Wang's team powered with nanogenerators?

  • Small LEDs, LCDs and laser diodes
  • Personal stereos, like an iPod
  • Laptop computers

Will nanogenerators be able to replace the need for batteries in hand-held electronics?

  • It's possible
  • Not likely

True or false: Even the most complex and powerful nanogenerators are small enough to hold between your thumb and index fingers.

  • True
  • False

The substrate is the surface on which the nanogenerator's circuit is etched. What important property must a nanogenerator's substrate posess in order to work properly?

  • It must be electrically charged.
  • It must be very flexible.
  • It must contain silicone.

True or false: Within the next five years, you might be able to purchase a hoodie that uses your heartbeat to power your iPod or mobile phone.

  • True
  • False

What's the name of the science and technology that deals with research and development of incredibly small man-made objects?

  • Nanotechnology
  • Microtechnology
  • Picotechnology

What's the full chemical name for the piezoelectric material known as PZT?

  • Potassium zinc tinate
  • Potassium zirconate titanate
  • Lead zirconate titanate

How long is a micron?

  • One trillionth of a meter
  • One billionth of a meter
  • One millionth of a meter

How wide are the PZT nanoribbons created by researchers McAlpine and Purohit?

  • 10 microns
  • 100 - 300 nm
  • 250 - 500 nm

True or false: Nanogenerators require an initial power source, such as a battery, before they can run on their own.

  • True
  • False

What important feature of zinc oxide (ZnO) makes it an ideal choice as the piezoelectric material in nanogenerators for implanted medical devices?

  • ZnO is non-toxic.
  • ZnO is inexpensive to produce.
  • ZnO has a crystalline structure.