A capacitive vibration-to-electricity energy converter with integrated mechanical switches

Yi Chiu*, V. F.G. Tseng

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

84 Scopus citations


Due to recent advances in low-power VLSI design technology, it has become feasible to power portable or remote electronic devices by scavenging the ambient energy. The design, fabrication and measurement of a capacitive vibration-to-electricity energy converter are presented in this paper. With a device area constraint of 1 cm2 and an auxiliary battery supply of 3.6 V, the device was designed to generate an output power of 31 νW with an output saturation voltage of 40 V. An external mass of 4 g was needed to adjust the device resonance to match the input vibration of 2.25 m s-2 at 120 Hz. Mechanical contact switches were integrated onto the device to provide accurate charge-discharge energy conversion timing. The device was fabricated in SOI (silicon-on-insulator) wafers by deep silicon etching technology. Parasitic capacitance was minimized by partial back side substrate removal. Resonant frequencies of the fabricated device with and without the external mass agreed with the expected values. Without the external mass, the measured ac output power was 1.2 νW with a load of 5 MΩ at 1870 Hz. Detailed circuit modeling and ac output power measurement of the devices with the external mass attached are in progress.

Original languageEnglish
Article number104004
JournalJournal of Micromechanics and Microengineering
Issue number10
StatePublished - 1 Oct 2008


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