Self-powered smart systems utilizing the high voltages generated by triboelectric nanogenerators (TENGs) have been systematically reviewed, with several featured applications highlighted, including electrospray, optical device, microplasma, and microfluidic.
To provide a sustainable power solution for electronics, triboelectric nanogenerator (TENG) has been developed since 2012 for high-efficiency mechanical energy harvesting from the ambient environment. TENG has very unique output characteristics including high voltage and limited current density. Thus, it is challenging to directly power most of the commercial electronics in high efficiency. However, these features also bring opportunities for high-voltage applications. Here, we will review the efforts for developing TENG as a controllable high-voltage power source for various applications. The review article will start from fundamental studies about how the high-voltage output was generated, and then, several representative research in recent years will be reviewed, including electrospray, optical devices, microplasma, field emission, and electrically responsive materials. These studies will drive the further development of TENG technology for broad applications and industrializations toward high-efficiency self-powered systems.