Scientifically the project is concerned with a new way to harvest energy from sources accessible for in vivo devices. These sources can be of mechanical, thermal, or photonic nature, but within the body the energy that can harvested from each of them individually is rather small. In our novel approach we will investigate a material system that can harvest energy from all three of these sources simultaneously, meaning a system that shows piezoelectric, pyroelectric, and photovoltaic properties: BaTiO3 (BT). BT is an inorganic solid that is brittle in nature and therefore difficult to apply in vivo. We will therefore develop and investigate composite samples that consist of a flexible polymer matrix with BT embedded in nanoparticle form. The piezoelectric, pyroelectric, and photovoltaic response of these samples will be tested under single and multiple stimuli to clarify the interrelationship between the three different functionalities and determine the energy harvesting potential. As materials embedded into the body have to be chemically stable or show controlled dissolution, the chemical and functional stability of the samples will be investigated in the presence of simulated body fluid.
This project will be conducted by several young researchers in the laboratories at NTNU and at Université Paris-Saclay, CNRS, CentraleSupélec. Mutual research visits that include workshops on topics fundamental to the project will broaden their technical expertise. Furthermore, the experience of working in an international research team can not be underestimated as it shows the variety in approaching scientific questions.
The project will serve as a seed to develop a large Innovative Training Network (ITN) including more collaboration partners all over Europe.