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Center For Applied and Computational Mathematics

Dynamics of Micro-Energy Harvesting

Energy Harvester


In this research project, we are concerned with a comparatively recent development in MEMS, energy harvesting. A MEMS energy harvester is a micro-machine that gleans energy from the environment, for example ambient thermal or mechanical energy, which is then transformed into electrical energy that is stored for use in another a micro-device.  The harvesters that we consider are based on embedded charge technology developed by M. Potter.  Potter's method makes it possible to embed charge at the interface of two insulators. When a conductor moves in the vicinity of this embedded charge--for example, when a metal plate is perturbed by incidental mechanical vibrations--a current is induced in the conductor. By using an appropriate diode circuit, the charge can be captured on a capacitor, thereby transforming the incident mechanical energy into usable electrical energy.


  1. The Dynamics of Embedded-Charge Microenergy Harvesting, C.V. Lutzer and D.S. Ross, Journal of Computational and Nonlinear Dynamics, Volume 5 Issue 2, (2010).

  2. Design and Modeling of a Micro-Energy Harvester Using an Embedded Charge Layer, S. Gracewski, P. Funkenbusch, D. S. Ross, J. Zia and M. Potter, J. Micromech. Microeng. 16, 235-241, (2006).