Date of Award

8-1-2017

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy

Department

Electrical and Computer Engineering

First Advisor

Lozowski, Andy

Abstract

Harvesting energy from ultra-low-power vibration energy sources typically employs a rectifier circuit as the first power conditioning stage. The Schottky diode has a 0.15 V - 0.2 V threshold voltage and can not extract energy efficiently at low voltage. Other technologies such as MOSFET bridge or active diode are designed to minimize the voltage drop to reduce the conduction loss. However, these designs require either additional power supplies to operate comparators or have a larger threshold turn-on voltage than Schottky. Therefore, most rectifiers have an unresponsive or significant low-efficiency zone when the input power is low. This dissertation will elaborate on a backward diode based self-powered micro-circuit diode that will operate in the extremely weak or low alternating source applications, where the existing approaches offer poor outcomes. This proposed micro-circuit diode was compared to a Schottky diode in several experiment setup. The micro-circuit based half-wave rectifier circuit harvested 3.1 mV DC at a 239.5 Ohm load when the input magnitude is 50 mV while the Schottky diode was unable to convert this ultra-low AC power. This dissertation also provides the analysis of two alternating sources, the oscillatory electromagnetic generator and the piezoelectric energy harvester, to conduct experiments in a more realistic context. The micro-circuit diode shows excellent advantages in electromagnetic generator experiment, the micro-circuit based half-wave rectifier circuit harvested 5.16 mV DC at a 0.5 kOhm load when the input magnitude is 40 mV. However, due to the large leakage current in negative resistance region, this micro-circuit is unable to show advantages in piezoelectric energy harvester applications.

Available for download on Thursday, April 26, 2018

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