Author ORCID Identifier

Date of Award


Document Type

Thesis (Ph.D.)

Department or Program

Engineering Sciences

First Advisor

John X.J. Zhang


Biomechanical energy harvested from the human body can power implantable electronics such as cardiac pacemakers, replacing conventional batteries and offering a lifelong energy solution. The electrical signals converted from biomechanical motions contain vital physiological information, making them suitable as a sensor to monitor one's health condition. Zinc Oxide (ZnO) is a versatile material with various intriguing properties, including piezoelectricity, photo-catalytic and piezo-catalytic properties. This thesis aims to exploit and enhance these properties of ZnO by rationally designing its nano- and micron-structures and employing them, along with other functional materials, in the development of novel biomechanical energy harvesting, water purification, and sensing devices. Flexible energy harvesters and sensors are developed by incorporating rationally designed ZnO nano- and micron-materials, utilizing its piezoelectric property. The flexible energy harvester is biocompatible, with a Young's modulus as low as 3.3 MPa, similar to that of skin, and can stretch to 2.5 times its original length. The generated voltage reaches up to 9.2 V, and the power output generated from the animal test reaches 10.7 µW, sufficient to charge implantable electronics such as pacemakers. In addition, a nano-platform for water purification and organic contaminant sensing is developed. The device is fabricated using ZnO nanorod-coated silica nanofibers (ZnONR-SNF), which are then decorated with Ag nanoparticles for enhanced surface plasmon. The preliminary results show that the device can degrade organic contaminants with an efficiency of 98% under UV light, and the limit of detection is 1 ng/mL for the detection of organic dyes. The nanomaterial and device design strategies proposed in this study pave the way for creating the next-generation bioenergy harvesters, sensors, and purification systems with outstanding performance.

Original Citation

1 C. Jin et al., Sensors Actuators A. Phys. 305 (2020) 111912. (Most cited article #11 overall or #5 in research articles in the journal since 2020)

2 C. Jin et al., Adv. Intell. Syst. 2 (2020) 1900162. (Featured on cover)

3 C. Jin et al., Adv. Mater. Interfaces. 8(2021) 2100094 (Featured on cover)

4 C. Jin et al., Materials Today Bio, (2022) 100263

5 M. Zhang†, C. Jin†, Y. Nie, Y. Ren, N. Hao, J. X.J. Zhang, RSC Adv., 11 (2021) 11329-11337

6 Z. Xu†, C. Jin†, A. Cabe, D. Escobedo, N. Hao, I. Trase, A.B. Closson, L. Dong, Y. Nie, J. Elliott, M. Feldman, Z. Chen, J.X.J. Zhang, ACS Appl. Mater. Interfaces. (2020). 12 (2020) 34170-34179 (Featured on cover)

7 Z. Xu†, C. Jin†, Cabe, A., Escobedo, D., Gruslova, A., Jenney, S., Closson, A. B., Dong, L., Chen, Z., Feldman, M. D., Zhang, J. X. J., Adv. Healthcare Mater. 10 (2021) 2002100. (Featured on front piece)

8 G. Wan†, C. Jin†, I. Trase, S. Zhao, Z. Chen, Sensors (Switzerland). 18 (2018) 2973.

9 L. Dong†, C. Jin†, A.B. Closson, I. Trase, H.R. Richards, Z. Chen, J.X.J. Zhang, Nano Energy. 76 (2020) 105076.

10 Y. Nie, C. Jin, J.X.J. Zhang, ACS Sensors. 6 (2021) 2584–2592. doi:10.1021/acssensors.1c00117. (Featured on cover)

11 L. Dong, A.B. Closson, C. Jin, Y. Nie, A. Cabe, D. Escobedo, S. Huang, I. Trase, Z. Xu, Z. Chen, M.D. Feldman, J.X.J. Zhang, Adv. Healthc. Mater. 9 (2020) 2000053.

12 L. Dong, A.B. Closson, C. Jin, I. Trase, Z. Chen, J.X.J. Zhang, Adv. Mater. Technol. 4 (2019) 1900177.

13 N. Hao, Y. Nie, Z. Xu, C. Jin, T.J. Fyda, J.X.J. Zhang, J. Colloid Interface Sci. 559 (2020) 254–262.

14 N. Hao, Z. Xu, Y. Nie, C. Jin, A.B. Closson, M. Zhang, J.X.J. Zhang, Chem. Eng. J. 378 (2019) 122222.

15 G. Wan, Y. Liu, Z. Xu, C. Jin, L. Dong, X. Han, J.X.J. Zhang, Z. Chen, Extrem. Mech. Lett. 34 (2019) 100603.

16 G. Wan, Y. Cai, Y. Liu, C. Jin, D. Wang, S. Huang, N. Hu, J.X.J. Zhang, Z. Chen, Extrem. Mech. Lett. 42 (2021) 101065.

17 A. Tadimety, Z. Wu, J.H. Molinski, R. Beckerman, C. Jin, L. Zhang, T.J. Palinski, J.X.J. Zhang, in: Proc. IEEE Sens., 2020: pp. 16–19.

18 A. Closson, H. Richards, Z. Xu, C. Jin, L. Dong, X.J. Zhang, IEEE Sens. J., 10.1109/JSEN.2021.3071321

19 A. Tadimety, Z. Wu, J. H. Molinski, R. Beckerman, C. Jin, L. Zhang, T. J. Palinski, and J. X.J. Zhang, Sci. Rep. 11(2021) 14185

20 J. Zhou, Y. Nie, C. Jin, J. X.J. Zhang, ACS Biomater. Sci. & Eng (2022) (Featured on cover)

21 J. Zhou, Y. Ren, Y. Nie, C. Jin, J. Park, J. X.J. Zhang, Nanoscale Adv. (2023)

Available for download on Friday, March 14, 2025