The small generator can convert the movement of molecules in a liquid into electricity at room temperature. The device could one day be used to power equipment such as medical implants or small home appliances.
Molecules are always in motion, even though they appear stationary to the human eye, thanks to the thermal energy they possess at temperatures above absolute zero. For example, atoms in a glass of water are constantly bumping into each other at room temperature.
“We thought it would be interesting and useful to see if we could harness this movement and convert it into electricity,” says Wei Li of China’s Nankai University.