Date of Award
Doctor of Philosophy
Ambient energy harvesting has attracted significant attention over the last years for applications such as wireless sensors, implantable devices, health monitoring systems, and wearable devices. The methods of vibration-to-electric energy conversion can be included in the following categories: electromagnetic, electrostatic, and piezoelectric. Among various techniques of vibration-based energy harvesting, piezoelectric transduction method has received the most attention due to the large power density of the piezoelectric material and its simple architectures. In contrast to electromagnetic energy harvesting, the output voltage of a piezoelectric energy harvester is high, which can charge a storage component such as a battery. Compared to electrostatic energy harvester, the piezoelectric energy harvester does not require an external voltage supply. Also, piezoelectric harvesters can be manufactured in micro-scale, where they show better performance compared to other energy harvesters, owing to the well-established thick-film and thin-film fabrication techniques. The main drawback of the linear piezoelectric harvesters is that they only retrieve energy efficiently when they are excited at their resonance frequencies, which are usually high, while they are less efficient when the excitation frequency is distributed over a broad spectrum or is dominant at low frequencies. High-frequency vibrations can be found in machinery and vehicles could be used as the energy source but, most of the vibration energy harvesters are targeting at low-frequency vibration sources which are more achievable in the natural environment. One way to overcome this limitation is by using the frequency-up-conversion technology via impacts, where the source of the impacts can be one or two stoppers or more massive beams. The impact makes the piezoelectric beam oscillate in its resonance frequency and brings nonlinear behavior into the system.
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