How the IET and nano-scale research are helping the global conservation effort

The IET’s Micro & Nano Letters publishes cutting edge global research in energy storage and energy harvesting, based on selected papers from the Asia-Pacific Conference on Transducers and Micro/Nano Technologies (APCOT 2012).

Engineering on all scales has a vital role to play in energy conservation. From vast alternative energy source projects, improving the efficiency of travel and the home, right down to the nano scale research published in Micro & Nano Letter’s special section of selected papers from the Asia-Pacific Conference on Transducers and Micro/Nano Technologies (APCOT 2012).

This international conference hosted several thousand delegates and covered a wide range of subjects, but a considerable number of the selected papers were focussed on energy storage and harvesting.  Optimising small scale energy storage will have an enormous impact on global conservation - consider how may mobile phones, electric cars and laptop computers are charged worldwide each day.  Batteries in these devices rely on engineering at the micro and nano scale to be as efficient as possible, and papers presented in Micro & Nano Letters use advanced devices such as microsupercapacitors to achieve this.

Another technique that will contribute to this global effort will be so-called energy harvesting. Using materials from the exotic, such as lead zirconate titanate and aluminium nitride, to the more familiar, such as nickel, the research published in Micro & Nano Letters aims to recycle and harvest energy that would otherwise be wasted on all scales.  For example, efficiently harvesting the energy created by the motion of a portable device could drastically reduce its power consumption, and so aid the conservation effort.

Along with other subjects, from environmental health to microscopic medical equipment, the papers published in Micro & Nano Letters demonstrate the vital role electrical engineering has to play in today’s more energy conscious world and how the IET and its journals is at the forefront of the research that may solve the global energy crisis.