A nanoconverter or nanosensor is disclosed capable of directly generating electricity through physisorption interactions with molecules that are dipole containing organic species in a molecule interaction zone. High surface-to-volume ratio semiconductor nanowires or nanotubes (such as ZnO, silicon, carbon, etc.) are grown either aligned or randomly-aligned on a substrate. Epoxy or other nonconductive polymers are used to seal portions of the nanowires or nanotubes to create molecule noninteraction zones. By correlating certain molecule species to voltages generated, a nanosensor may quickly identify which species is detected. Nanoconverters in a series parallel arrangement may be constructed in planar, stacked, or rolled arrays to supply power to nano- and micro-devices without use of external batteries. In some cases breath, from human or other life forms, contain sufficient molecules to power a nanoconverter. A membrane permeable to certain molecules around the molecule interaction zone increases specific molecule nanosensor selectivity response.
STATEMENT REGARDING FEDERALLY SPONSORED RESEARCH OR DEVELOPMENT
This invention was made with Government support under DE-AC52-07NA27344 awarded by the US Department of Energy (DOE). The Government has certain rights in the invention.