Waving potential in graphene

Nanoscale materials offer much promise in the pursuit of high-efficient energy conversion technology owing to their exceptional sensitivity to external stimulus. In particular, experiments have demonstrated that flowing water over carbon nanotubes can generate electric voltages. However, the reported flow-induced voltages are in wide discrepancy and the proposed mechanisms remain conflictive. Here we find that moving a liquid–gas boundary along a piece of graphene can induce a waving potential of up to 0.1 V. The potential is proportional to the moving velocity and the graphene length inserted into ionic solutions, but sharply decreases with increasing graphene layers and vanishes in other materials. This waving potential arises from charge transfer in graphene driven by a moving boundary of an electric double layer between graphene and ionic solutions. The results reveal a unique electrokinetic phenomenon and open prospects for functional sensors, such as tsunami monitors.

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