Sliding silicon-based Schottky diodes: Maximizing triboelectricity with surface chemistry

Stuart Ferrie, Anton P. Le Brun, Gowri Krishnan, Gunther G. Andersson, Nadim Darwish, Simone Ciampi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Triboelectric nanogenerators are an emerging energy technology which harvests electricity from mechanical energy. Within this technology there are sliding metal–semiconductor contacts, which can be miniaturized, and having a direct current (DC) output are suitable as autonomous power sources for electronic devices. Herein we explore the scope of engineering the surface chemistry of silicon towards maximizing the output of a Pt–Si Schottky diode-based triboelectric nanogenerator. Through the attachment of covalent Si–C-bound organic monolayers we have engineered silicon surface chemistry to systematically tune friction, wettability and surface work function, with the overall aim of clarifying the interplay between mechanical and electronic properties defining the DC output of a zero-bias sliding Schottky diode. Current outputs increase two-fold in amine- and alcohol-terminated monolayers compared to shorter and carbon-terminated films. This trend parallels the change in friction measured in response to surface functionalization. A pronounced effect of silicon doping on friction and current was revealed by atomic force microscopy, indicating a link between doping and friction, even at zero applied bias. This work reveals an electrical component of friction by demonstrating a friction excess in response to the flow of current, and it opens up novel avenues into the use of silicon, and its surface chemistry, as platform for triboelectric nanogenerators.

Original languageEnglish
Article number106861
Number of pages9
JournalNano Energy
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2022


  • Schottky diode, Friction
  • Silicon
  • Surface chemistry
  • Triboelectric nanogenerator


Dive into the research topics of 'Sliding silicon-based Schottky diodes: Maximizing triboelectricity with surface chemistry'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this