DEVELOPMENT OF A SIMPLIFIED, MASS PRODUCIBLE HYBRIDIZED AMBIENT, LOW FREQUENCY, LOW INTENSITY VIBRATION ENERGY SCAVENGER (HALF-LIVES)
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Scavenging energy from environmental sources is an active area of research to enable remote sensing and microsystems applications. Furthermore, as energy demands soar, there is a significant need to explore new sources and curb waste. Vibration energy scavenging is one environmental source for remote applications and a candidate for recouping energy wasted by mechanical sources that can be harnessed to monitor and optimize operation of critical infrastructure (e.g. Smart Grid).
Current vibration scavengers are limited by volume and ancillary requirements for operation such as control circuitry overhead and battery sources. This dissertation, for the first time, reports a mass producible hybrid energy scavenger system that employs both piezoelectric and electrostatic transduction on a common MEMS device.
The piezoelectric component provides an inherent feedback signal and pre-charge source that enables electrostatic scavenging operation while the electrostatic device provides the proof mass that enables low frequency operation. The piezoelectric beam forms the spring of the resonant mass-spring transducer for converting vibration excitation into an AC electrical output. A serially poled, composite shim, piezoelectric bimorph produces the highest output rectified voltage of over 3.3V and power output of 145uW using ¼ g vibration acceleration at 120Hz. Considering solely the volume of the piezoelectric beam and tungsten proof mass, the volume is 0.054cm3, resulting in a power density of 2.68mW/cm3.
Incorporation of a simple parallel plate structure that provides the proof mass for low frequency resonant operation in addition to cogeneration via electrostatic energy scavenging provides a 19.82 to 35.29 percent increase in voltage beyond the piezoelectric generated DC rails. This corresponds to approximately 2.1nW additional power from the electrostatic scavenger component and demonstrates the first instance of hybrid energy scavenging using both piezoelectric and synchronous electrostatic transduction. Furthermore, it provides a complete system architecture and development platform for additional enhancements that will enable in excess of 100uW additional power from the electrostatic scavenger.