Underwater wireless communication via TENG-generated Maxwell’s displacement current

Hongfa Zhao, Minyi Xu, Mingrui Shu, Jie An, Wenbo Ding, Xiangyu Liu, Siyuan Wang, Cong Zhao, Hongyong Yu, Hao Wang, Chuan Wang, Xianping Fu, Xinxiang Pan, Guangming Xie & Zhong Lin Wang; Nature Communications.


Underwater communication is a critical and challenging issue, on account of the complex underwater environment. This study introduces an underwater wireless communication approach via Maxwell’s displacement current generated by a triboelectric nanogenerator. Underwater electric field can be generated through a wire connected to a triboelectric nanogenerator, while current signal can be inducted in an underwater receiver certain distance away. The received current signals are basically immune to disturbances from salinity, turbidity and submerged obstacles. Even after passing through a 100 m long spiral water pipe, the electric signals are not distorted in waveform. By modulating and demodulating the current signals generated by a sound driven triboelectric nanogenerator, texts and images can be transmitted in a water tank at 16 bits/s. An underwater lighting system is operated by the triboelectric nanogenerator-based voice-activated controller wirelessly. This triboelectric nanogenerator-based approach can form the basis for an alternative wireless communication in complex underwater environments.