/Development of a 3-axis MEMS energy harvester for biomedical applications

Development of a 3-axis MEMS energy harvester for biomedical applications

Leuven | More than two weeks ago

Explore the innovative power sources for biomedical applications

In the field of surgery and interventional medicine, size is a very critical factor. Therefore, MEMS technology, with its micrometer sized machines, is an ideal candidate to solve some of the crucial problems in this field. In a recent years capacitive MEMS energy harvesters had shown a significant improvement in terms of an average output power, miniaturization and overall power density. A promising improvement had been demonstrated by introducing innovative springs in typical MEMS energy harvester design. Nevertheless, current research had mostly been focused on 1-axis devices. However, in real life often the source of excitation is not always aligning with 1 axis, requiring the development of the miniaturized 3-axis energy harvesters.


As energy harvesters and become smaller to allow less invasive applications (such as biomedical ones), the technology that is integrated with these devices needs to scale down. This research will focus on the use of nonlinear mechanical systems to efficiently extract power from the various mechanical sources, enabling the electrical power generation levels on miniature scale unseen before. 

Fig 1: conceptual sketch of the system.


Classical energy harvester consists of a mechanical seismic mass, electromechanical transducer, and a power extraction circuit. Their miniaturized counterparts (MEMS) allow for a much smaller device volume and easier integration with supporting electronics. They are structures micromachined in silicon containing the mechanical weight attached to capacitive combs to generate electrical current.

This allows MEMS energy harvester to generate power for a various applications where the traditional power deliveries techniques are challenged to do so.


Fig 2: Sketch of the working principle of energy harvester.


The goal of this project is to study, design, and optimize an innovative 3-axis energy harvesting system. This project will give an opportunity to perform a mechanical and electrical analysis of an inertial MEMS system, as well as to participate in development of a state-of-the art power converters. Generally, this is a topic for students eager to understand complex systems with a hands on attitude and interest for MEMS devices and multiphysics simulations. High creativity is much appreciated. The work is estimated to be: 50% simulations/calculations (f.e COMSOL, Matlab or likewise), 50% system design.

Type of project: Thesis

Duration: 6-12 months

Required degree: Master of Engineering Technology, Master of Science, Master of Engineering Science

Supervising scientist(s): For further information or for application, please contact: Bogdan Vysotskyi (Bogdan.Vysotskyi@imec.be) and Veronique Rochus (Veronique.Rochus@imec.be)

Only for self-supporting students.