The ever-growing global market for smart wearable technologies and Internet of Things (IoT) has increased the demand for sustainable and multifunctional nanomaterials synthesized by low-cost and energy-efficient processing technologies. Zinc oxide (ZnO) is a key material for this purpose due to the variety of facile methods that exist to produced ZnO nanostructures with tailored sizes, morphologies, and optical and electrical properties. In particular, ZnO nanostructures with a porous structure are advantageous over other morphologies for many applications because of their high specific surface area. In this chapter, a literature review on the latest progress regarding the synthesis and applications of ZnO with a porous morphology will be provided, with special focus on the synthesis by microwave hydrothermal method of these nanomaterials and their potential for application in energy harvesting devices. Nanogenerators of a composite made by polydimethylsiloxane (PDMS) and porous ZnO nanostructures were explored and optimized, with an output voltage of (4.5 ± 0.3) V being achieved for the best conditions. The daily life applicability of these devices was demonstrated by lighting up a commercial LED, by manually stimulating the nanogenerator directly connected to the LED.
Part of the book: Nanopores