Rigid-Flex PCB technology with embedded fluidic cavities and its application in electromagnetic energy harvesters

Yi Chiu*, Hao-Chiao Hong

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations


A technology platform based on commercial printed circuit boards (PCB) technology is developed and presented. It integrates rigid flame retardant (FR)-4 boards, flexible polyimide (PI) structures, and embedded cavities for micro- and meso-scale applications. The cavities or channels can be filled with fluids for microfluidic and lab-on-chip systems. In this study, an electromagnetic energy harvester with enhanced output was designed and implemented in the platform. To enhance harvester output, the embedded cavities were filled with ferrofluid (FF) to improve the overall magnetic circuit design and electromechanical coupling of the device. The fabricated PCB-based harvester had a dimension of 20 mm × 20 mm × 4 mm. Vibration tests of the harvesters were conducted with different magnet sizes and different FF. Test results showed up to a 70% enhancement of output voltage and a 195% enhancement of output power when the cavities were filled with oil-based FF as compared with harvesters without FF. When the cavities were filled with water-based FF, the enhancement of voltage and power increased to 25% and 50%, respectively. The maximum output power delivered to a matched load at a 196-Hz resonance frequency and 1 grms vibration was estimated to be 2.3 μW, corresponding to an area power density of 0.58 μW/cm2 and a volume power density of 1.4 μW/cm3, respectively.

Original languageEnglish
Article number308
Issue number6
StatePublished - 19 Jun 2018


  • Electromagnetic
  • Embedded cavity
  • Energy harvester
  • Ferrofluid
  • Fluidic
  • Magnetic circuit
  • Printed circuit boards (PCB)
  • Rigid-flex


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