MEMS Energy Harvesting

© Fraunhofer ISIT / photocompany, Itzehoe

The Fraunhofer lighthouse 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. Fraunhofer ISIT is developing a broadband energy harvester for the conversion of mechanical and magnetic ambient energy into usable electrical energy.

For many sensor applications, besides the acquisition and transmission of measurement data, an energy-autonomous operation is of enormous importance. The ISIT in Itzehoe is developing a piezoelectric MEMS Energy Harvester especially for applications that do not permit power supply via power cable or battery replacement.

The efficiency of the silicon component is to be significantly increased compared to currently available harvesters in order to harvest an output of 100 microwatts from its surroundings with a component area of approx. 5 x 5 square millimetres. For this purpose, both piezoelectric materials for mechano-electric conversion and magnetic materials for magnetic excitation using MEMS technology will be integrated and established in terms of process technology.

This enables the realization of novel chip-based MEMS harvesters that can be integrated with the electronics developed in parallel in the project to form compact, powerful and cost-effective complete systems for a variety of applications. In cooperation with the project partners, the basis for System-on-Chip (SoC) integration with Application-Specific Integrated Circuits (ASIC) to create miniaturized harvester system assemblies is provided.