Tribotronics is a new field that couples triboelectricity with semiconductors, first proposed by Professor Chi Zhang in 2014. Tribotronics is about devices which can control electrical transport and conversion characteristics in semiconductors through triboelectric charges generated by mechanical motion, which has established a direct interaction mechanism between the external environment and semiconductor devices. Several tribotronic functional devices have been developed, which have provided new approaches for human-machine interfacing, active MEMS/NEMS, sensors and self-powered systems and other applications.
Tribotronics is based on the theories of nanotribology and semiconductor device physics, for exploring the coupling effect of triboelectricity and semiconductor, and developing tribotronic devices. Combined with new materials such as organic materials and nanomaterials, the material system of tribotronics is established, such as flexible, transparent, and extensible tribotronic devices, for applications in human-machine interfaces, electronic skins, smart sensing, wearable devices, etc. Combined with optoelectronics, electromagnetics, integrated circuits, and MEMS, various new tunable functional devices and applications are investigated such as tribotronic light-emitting, optoelectronic, electromagnetic, logical operation, storage, and MEMS. Combined with integration technology, array tribotronics are explored for highly integrated MEMS/NEMS and large-scale human-machine interactive interfaces.
Tribotronics is expected for important breakthroughs in the establishment of basic theory and material systems, the development of new tribotronic functional devices, and the application of large-scale integrated device arrays. It will deepen and expand emerging disciplines such as nano-energy, nano-tribology, and MEMS, and show great values in emerging applications such as intelligent sensing, energy science, human-machine interface and bioscience.