MEMS Energy-Harvester

© Fraunhofer ISIT / photocompany, Itzehoe

The Fraunhofer lead project "Toward Zero Power Electronics" is currently working on the development of extremely energy-efficient and modular hardware for various "Internet of Things" (IoT) applications. In the project, Fraunhofer ISIT is developing a broadband "energy harvester" for converting mechanical and magnetic ambient energy into usable electrical energy.

For many sensor applications, energy-autonomous operation is of enormous importance in addition to the acquisition and transmission of measurement data. ISIT in Itzehoe is developing a piezoelectric MEMS "energy harvester" especially for applications that do not allow power supply via power cable or replacement of batteries.

The efficiency of the silicon device is to be significantly increased compared to currently available harvesters in order to harvest a power of 100 microwatts from its environment with a device area of about 5 x 5 square millimeters. For this purpose, both piezoelectric materials for mechanoelectric conversion and magnetic materials for magnetic excitation are integrated by means of MEMS technology and established in terms of process technology.

This enables the realization of novel chip-based MEMS harvesters, which can be integrated with the electronics developed in parallel in the project to form compact, high-performance and low-cost overall systems for a wide range of applications. In cooperation with the project partners, the basis for system-on-chip (SoC) integration with application-specific integrated circuits (ASIC) to miniaturized harvester assemblies is thus created.