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Applications of Piezoelectric

Energy Harvesting
Aditya S Bhat, Zoltan Danilo, Ralph Langkemper, Sanketh Ramachandra
Energy Harvesting
Department of Microsystems Engineering - IMTEK
University of Freiburg, Germany

List of Contents
Piezoelectric Soft MEMS for tactile sensing and Energy
Experimental setup
Sputter Deposition
Tactile Sensor Fabrication
Cantilever Fabrication

Tactile Sensor
Flexible Cantilever



List of Contents
Energy harvesting from hearts, lungs and diaphragm

Challenges for implantable energy harvesters
Energy harvester (Heart/Lung)
Laboratory test
In vivo test



Piezoelectric Soft MEMS for tactile

sensing and Energy harvesting

Inorganic materials are typically rigid and brittle, often damaged under

large deformations.
Soft piezoelectrics have been proposed for high sensitivity and

conformable MEMS applications by virtue of their mechanical resistance.

c-axis aligned AlN thin films deposited on soft substrates offer excellent

properties as good piezoelectric coefficient, good dielectric constant and

low cost reactive sputtering synthesis
Operating Temperature range <1150 C


AIN layer is sandwiched between two Molybdenum (Mo) metal

electrodes and grown on top of a polyimide Dupont Kapton-HN substrate

Wide operating temperature range (269 C to +400 C).
Sandwiched structures used for fabricating the tactile sensors and

flexible cantilevers for energy harvesting from vibrations and air flow.


Sputter Deposition
Deposition by RF reactive

magnetron sputtering resulting in

very low tensile residual stress
very high orientation of the

polycrystalline material obtained by

sputtering deposition, i.e. AIN (002)
and Mo(110)
Flexible tactile sensors based on

circular shaped active region

Flexible cantilever with the AlN

piezoelectric layer positioned on the

hinge of the floating structure.


Fabrication: Tactile Sensor

Circular 3Dshaped membranes

4 domes with a radius of 300 m,

positioned in a cross layout.


Fabrication: Flexible Cantilever

Very large deformations and higher

generated voltage with polymer

The piezoelectric active area is

centred on the cantilever hinge to

maximize stress.
ICP-RIE process is used to etch the

Mo-AlN layers, with an active area of



Result: Tactile Sensor

Very large deformations and higher

generated voltage with polymer

XYZ TEC Push/Pull system has

been used both to apply and to

measure the external contact force
in a loading range from 0.003 to 0.03
Linear pressure/voltage

No deviation from linearity


Result: Flexible Cantilever

An electromechanical shaker which

generates a sinusoidal acceleration

of 0.1 g, 0.2g and 0.5g in a range of
[0 2 kHz].
The maximum output voltages at

resonance frequency were 195 mV,

268 mV and 534 mV at 0.1 g, 0.2g
and 0.5 g respectively.
Flexible Cantilever can survive

accelerations higher than 2g.

A gentle breath exercised on flag

surface generates a voltage of 18-20



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Flexible tactile sensors demonstrate a high sensitivity and a linear

response of the generated signal as a function of the applied normal

Soft AIN Cantilever energy harvester, consisting of a flexible large

piezoelectric area, having a hybrid organic/inorganic structure has higher

mechanical strength, and highly reliable
Promising future in flexible MEMS for ICT, robotic, biomedical and green

energy applications.


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Implantable piezoelectric energy


Battery life of active implant: several days some years

Surgery for replacement

Health risk and additional costs
Try to eliminate battery / extend lifetime

Energy source: Cardiac and lung motions

Inexhaustible during lifespan

Defined frequency spectrum (5-180 cycles/minute)

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Challenges for implantable energy

Biocompatible materials
Mechanically strong

Corrosion resistant
Optimal mean power: 20 W [2] (Pacemaker)

Withstand all of the systemic reactions

without loss of function
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Energy harvester (Heart/Lung)


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Energy harvester (Heart/Lung)

Laboratory test
PZT clamped on a bending
Defined bending
Different frequencies tested

Experimental results compared

to theoretical values from FEM

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Energy harvester (Heart/Lung)

Laboratory test
Peak voltage: 3,7 V
Current: ~0.15 A
Simulated bending profile not
precisely experimental profile
Offset to theoretical values

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Energy harvester (Heart/Lung)

Laboratory test - Results
Higher frequency =
Higher amount of work

Higher output energy

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Energy harvester (Heart/Lung)

Laboratory test
with battery + rectifier
Battery voltage max.: ~3,8 V
After ~7500 cycles

Battery capacity: 0,164 J

System efficiency:
= 1,7%

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Energy harvester (Heart/Lung)

In vivo test
PZT with battery and rectifier attached to bovine and ovine heart
Different positions: Right ventricle, Left ventricle, free wall
Different angles: 0, 45, 90
Different heartrates: 80-120 bpm

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Energy harvester (Heart/Lung)

In vivo test



RV: Peaks bovine ~ 4 V

LV: Peaks bovine ~ 3-3,5 V

Free wall: Peaks ~ 2,5 V

Right ventricle is the most
effective position

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Energy harvester (Heart/Lung)

In vivo test
Different angles:
Usable position: 0, 45
Highest peak: 45 ~4,3 V

Higher frequency

Higher voltage
Correlates with the laboratory tests

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Energy harvester (Heart/Lung)

In vivo test
PZT with battery and rectifier attached to bovine and ovine lung
Different positions: lung, diaphragm

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Energy harvester (Heart/Lung)

In vivo test
Similar peaks like the heart

~ 2 V peaks
Less effective position

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Multilayer approach
Several MEH layers stacked

1, 3 or 5 MEH layers
tests show an increasing power density for more layers

with 5 layers and max displacement: 1,2 W/cm

for 20 W: 16,67 cm required for a pacemaker

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Canan Dagdeviren, Byung Duk Yang, Yewang Su, Phat L. Tran, Pauline Joe, Eric Anderson, Jing
Xia, Vijay Doraiswamy, Behrooz Dehdashti, Xue Feng, Bingwei Lu, Robert Poston, Zain Khalpey,
Roozbeh Ghaffari, Yonggang Huang, Marvin J. Slepiand, and John A. Rogers. Conformal
piezoelectric energy harvesting and storage from motions of the heart, lung, and diaphragm in
PNAS Vol. 111 no. 5, 04.02.2014, 19271932, doi: 10.1073/pnas.1317233111


Mohd H. S. Alrashdan, Azrul Azlan Hamzah and BurhanuddinYeop Majlis. Design and
optimization of cantilever based piezoelectric micro power generator for cardiac pacemaker in
Microsystem Technologies, 07.10.2014, 16071617, DOI 10.1007/s00542-014-2334-1


Francesco Guido, Vincenzo Mariano Mastronardi, MariaTeresa Todaro, Simona Petroni and
Massimo De Vittorio, Piezoelectric soft MEMS for tactile sensing and energy harvesting, in IC
Design & Technology (ICICDT), 2014 IEEE International Conference on 28-30 May 2014

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