Our world is evolving to become more instrumented, interconnected and intelligent with an influx of wireless microsystems into every aspect of our lives. The applications are vast, from wearable electronics and bio-implants to smart infrastructures and industrial or environmental monitoring systems. However, the greatest impediment to global deployment of the next generation microsystems is the need for autonomous and reliable operation over a long-term unattended use. In this regard, tethering to a power outlet or a finite-lifetime battery limits the application field, and also results up to a tenfold markup in the cost of installation and maintenance. In addition, the utilized sensors can experience drifts in their output signals over the course of usage, often enough to require frequent replacements and to restrict their potential in high accuracy applications.
In the first part of this talk, I will outline my research on micro energy harvesting technologies to enable truly wireless and energy-independent systems, which harness vibrational, thermal, or acoustic power in their environment. Challenges of achieving high efficiency, wide bandwidth, multi-axis operation, and CMOS integration will be addressed. Some of the devices to be demonstrated include a 200-μW-output micro vibration harvester packaged with its self-supplied power management IC, and an on-chip thermal energy harvester integrated on a CMOS substrate. To realize these devices, advanced technology platforms are developed, including microfabrication of high quality piezoelectric thick films and thermoelectric thin films.
The second part of the talk will focus on enhancing the performance of next generation sensors by integrating self-calibration and vibration isolation functionalities via micro mechatronic systems. A six degrees-of-freedom micro motion stage will be demonstrated to provide precise on-chip physical stimulus to a multi-axis inertial sensor for in situ measurement and recalibration of its signal drifts. The talk will conclude with discussion of future opportunities for smart multi-functional microsystems and self-adaptive energy conversion technologies.
Erkan Aktakka is a senior research fellow in the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering at the University of Michigan. He received his B.S. degree from the Middle East Technical University in 2006, and the M.S. and Ph.D. degrees (working with Khalil Najafi) from the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor in 2008 and 2012, respectively, all in electrical engineering. Dr. Aktakka is a recipient of the 1st place in Turkey’s national university entrance exam, TUBITAK Graduate Research Fellowship Award, DTE Clean Energy Prize, and University of Michigan Distinguished Achievement Award. His research interests are in micro-electro-mechanical systems, smart materials and structures, energy harvesting, and multi-functional microsystems.