An electrostatic CMOS/BiCMOS Li ion vibration-based harvester-charger IC
Torres, Erick Omar
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The primary objective of this research was to investigate and develop an electrostatic energy-harvesting voltage-constrained CMOS/BiCMOS integrated circuit (IC) that harnesses ambient kinetic energy from vibrations with a vibration-sensitive variable capacitor and channels the extracted energy to charge an energy-storage device (e.g., battery). The proposed harvester charges and holds the voltage across the vibration-sensitive variable capacitor so that vibrations can induce it to generate current into the battery when capacitance decreases (as its plates separate). To that end, the research developed an energy-harvesting system that synchronizes to variable capacitor's state as it cycles between maximum and minimum capacitance by controlling each functional phase of the harvester and adjusting to different voltages of the on-board battery. One of the major challenges of the system was performing all of these duties without dissipating the energy harnessed and gained from the environment. Consequently, the system reduces losses by time-managing and biasing its circuits to operate only when needed and with just enough energy while charging the capacitor through an efficient inductor-based precharger. As result, the proposed energy harvester stores a net energy gain in the battery during each vibration cycle.