21 May 2015 Experimental verification of a novel MEMS multi-modal vibration energy harvester for ultra-low power remote sensing nodes
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In this work, we discuss the verification and preliminary experimental characterization of a MEMS-based vibration Energy Harvester (EH) design. The device, named Four-Leaf Clover (FLC), is based on a circular-shaped mechanical resonator with four petal-like mass-spring cascaded systems. This solution introduces several mechanical Degrees of Freedom (DOFs), and therefore enables multiple resonant modes and deformation shapes in the vibrations frequency range of interest. The target is to realize a wideband multi-modal EH-MEMS device, that overcomes the typical narrowband working characteristics of standard cantilevered EHs, by ensuring flexible and adaptable power source to ultra-low power electronics for integrated remote sensing nodes (e.g. Wireless Sensor Networks – WSNs) in the Internet of Things (IoT) scenario, aiming to self-powered and energy autonomous smart systems. Finite Element Method simulations of the FLC EH-MEMS show the presence of several resonant modes for vibrations up to 4-5 kHz, and level of converted power up to a few μW at resonance and in closed-loop conditions (i.e. with resistive load). On the other hand, the first experimental tests of FLC fabricated samples, conducted with a Laser Doppler Vibrometer (LDV), proved the presence of several resonant modes, and allowed to validate the accuracy of the FEM modeling method. Such a good accordance holds validity for what concerns the coupled field behavior of the FLC EH-MEMS, as well. Both measurements and simulations performed at 190 Hz (i.e. out of resonance) showed the generation of power in the range of nW (Root Mean Square – RMS values). Further steps of this work will include the experimental characterization in a full range of vibrations, aiming to prove the whole functionality of the FLC EH-MEMS proposed design concept.
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J. Iannacci, J. Iannacci, G. Sordo, G. Sordo, E. Serra, E. Serra, M. Kucera, M. Kucera, U. Schmid, U. Schmid, "Experimental verification of a novel MEMS multi-modal vibration energy harvester for ultra-low power remote sensing nodes", Proc. SPIE 9517, Smart Sensors, Actuators, and MEMS VII; and Cyber Physical Systems, 95171T (21 May 2015); doi: 10.1117/12.2177669; https://doi.org/10.1117/12.2177669

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