Triboelectrification of Polymers

Document Type

Student Presentation

Presentation Date



College of Arts and Sciences


Department of Physics

Faculty Sponsor

Dr. Byung Kim


The triboelectric effect is among the most prevalent of physical processes. The generality of the phenomena has allowed it to be known and studied for over 2000 years, but the complexity of it has left much to be made certain. Triboelectrification is environmentally dependent with many intrinsic charac- teristics that leave it insufficiently modeled by modern simulations. Properly identifying the physical interactions and mathematical descriptions inherent to this phenomena is required to adequately develop technologies such as triboelectrific nanogenerators (TENGs), and hard x-ray generators. Using scanning probe microscopy (SPM), the raw photodetector voltage is sampled at the rate limit (4-10 MHz), allowing for the exploration of the full cantilever deflection spectrum with exceptional time resolution. Force-separation curves are obtained indirectly through the densely sampled acquisition of the cantilever trajectory, using statistical cleaning schemes and adaptive filtering, allowing for the extraction of quantitative measurements of surface charge density C/m2, capacitance gradient, and hidden mechanical properties. Combining this physical characterization of triboelectric surfaces with nonlinear Monte Carlo simulation methods and experimentally informed density functional theory provides an opportunity to exhaustively model and predict triboelectrific phenomena.

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