Researchers at Holst Center have developed a small piezoelectric device that can harvest 85 microwatts of electricity from vibrations. The invention a result of program on Micropower Generation and Storage is fabricated using MEMS technology. The minute piezoelectric deviceis a fully autonomous temperature sensor that is capable of generating enough power to wirelessly measure and transmit environmental data to a base station every 15 seconds.
The pioneering technology behind this device called the ‘MEMS’ is the microfabrication of mechanical elements, sensors, actuators and other electronics on a common silicon substrate. The piezoelectric effect can be used to harvest vibrational energy to power miniature devices like sensor nodes. IMEC builds harvesters that generate a record 85 microwatts of power, in addition to being manufactured using cost-effective CMOS compatible micro-electro-mechanical systems (MEMS) technology. The researchers at Holst Center found that vacuum bonding glass covers to the top and bottom of the processed wafers significantly increased the power output of the harvester, as opposed to atmospheric packaging. Last month these interesting findings were presented at the International Electron Devices Meeting in Baltimore.