Researchers claim to have created the first self-powered nanometer-scale device with the help of nanowire sensors.
Scientists from the Georgia Institute of Technology believe the device will be able to measure the pH of liquids or detect ultraviolet light simply by converting mechanical energy in the environment to produce electrical current.
Containing up to 20,000 zinc oxide nanowires per device, each nanogenerator can produce up to 1.2 volts of output voltage.
Furthermore, the chemical process used to grow the wires could facilitate low manufacturing costs in the future.
Professor Zhong Lin Wang said the team had developed a "robust way to harvest energy and use it for powering nanometer-scale sensors".
"We now have a technology roadmap for scaling these nanogenerators up to make truly practical applications," he added.
Last month, a research team from Arizona State University unveiled the first quaternary semiconductor also using nanowire materials which could be incorporated into both solar photovoltaic cells and LED light bulbs.