Piezoelectric MEMS for efficient energy harvesting


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The project proposes to develop a new piezoelectric harvester based on micro-electro-mechanical system (MEMS) devices and piezoelectric material fabrication, thin film deposition and patterning, together with storage module and power circuitry. It focuses on small-scale power energy harvesting techniques (1-100µW) using MEMS/thin-film approach for autonomous operation of portable or embedded micro devices and systems.

The harvester will include a MEMS device based on released silicon micrometric structures (cantilevers, bridges, spirals) connected together in order to increase the power density.  Each MEMS structure will be covered with a piezoelectric thin film having the role to convert the mechanical energy into electrical energy (direct piezoelectric effect). Several types of films (ZnO/doped ZnO, KNN) will be synthesized, deposited in thin films by sol gel and sputtering techniques, characterized, analysed, compared and optimized for piezoelectric transduction function optimisation.

Power harvesting circuitry and storage medium will be designed, developed, implemented and optimized in order to achieve a high efficiency harvesting device.

The piezoelectric harvester will employ active materials that generate a charge when mechanical stress is applied. High d33 piezomaterials like doped ZnO or/and KNN will be developed for the manufacture of the environment friendly harvester.

The piezoelectric MEMS appear to be the most attractive technology for harvesting small magnitudes of energy from environmental vibrations and movements. The general goal of the project is to develop this technology for eliminating or minimising the use of chemical batteries or complex wiring in microsensors/microsystems, increasing the autonomy of sensors, complex systems and networks. The particular goal is to realize an energy harvester able to generate up to 100µW of continuous power from human body vibrations and to connect it with personal monitoring sensors, functioning for minimum 24h without other energy sources.  A low cost harvester with dimensions in the range of micrometers, fully independent, providing high efficiency, is envisaged. The project will bring innovation in the area of device design, technology development, material development and characterization and integration of MEMS and nanotechnology with material design, deposition and characterization.

The project will provide technology demonstrator, piezo MEMS harvester prototyping and application development and dissemination. One patent and several scientific papers will be submitted and two workshops organized in the frame of the project.

From the Technology Readiness Level (TRL) point of view, the project will start from TRL2 (Technology Concept Formulated) and it is expected to reach TRL6 (Demonstration in relevant environment).

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Call identifier: M-ERA.NET, 2015-2018 (M-ERA.NET Transnational Call 2013)
Main topics:  Materials for Sustainable and Affordable Low Carbon Energy Technologies
Coordinator: National Institute for Research and Development in Microtechnologies-IMT Bucharest
Duration:  36 Months (2015- 2018)
Budget: 642.500 euro

Project coordinator: National Institute for R&D in Microtechnologies (IMT)Paolo Dario, The BioRobotics
Contact person: PhD. Carmen MOLDOVAN
E-mail: carmen[dot]moldovan[at]imt[dot]ro
Tel:  +40-21-269.07.70; +40-21-269.07.74; (int. 31)
Fax: +40-21-269.07.72; +40-21-269.07.76;
Website: www.imt.ro

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