Silex Microsystems, the world's largest pure-play MEMS foundry, today announced that it has been awarded a grant of nearly $1 million USD (5,8 MSEK) to develop its PZT piezoelectric material manufacturing capability to support a new class of MEMS products that enable energy harvesting directly from the vibrational energy in the environment.
This project is called SEHPMET and stands for the Smart Energy Optimization via Energy Harvesting utilizing new Swedish Piezo MEMS Technology. In addition to assuming the role of Project Coordinator for SEHPMET, Silex will optimize its PZT technology for the energy harvesting applications and work with the SEHPMET partners to fabricate wafer-level encapsulated prototypes to be used for testing and verification of the energy harvesting capabilities.
This project addresses the dramatically increasing demand for low-cost, energy-efficient, autonomous sensor systems for the 'Internet-of-Things.' The overall goal is to research and develop a completely integrated energy-harvesting platform with an initial focus on self-powered vehicular wireless sensor systems for tire pressure, speed, and strain monitoring. To achieve this goal, the key objectives of the project are: (1) to utilize Silex's existing PZT-MEMS technology for development of a novel low-cost Piezoelectric-MEMS energy harvester, (2) to develop models, simulation and test methods to characterize the Piezo-MEMS device, and (3) to develop a tailor-made energy-efficient on-chip power management solution.
"The explosion of sensor networks needed by the Internet of Things represents a great technical challenge to develop self-powered networks from the ground up," says Dr. Thorbjorn Ebefors, Chief Technologist and VP of R&D at Silex Microsystems AB. "The goals of SEHPMET will not only strengthen Sweden's ability to address this market, but also deliver working platforms that directly address this emerging need."
The project represents a cooperation between three world-leading partners with unique combined expertise in Piezo-MEMS material, including fabrication technology (Silex); modeling, design and testing of the Piezo-MEMS energy-harvester (Acreo Swedish ICT); and design of the integrated power management system as well as future fully integrated wireless sensor (Division of Electronic Devices, Linkoping University.)
The total budget for the SEHPMET project is over $1.4 million USD (8,9 MSEK) and extends from November of 2013 through early 2016. Work on the Energy Harvesting solution, however, is expected to continue through 2018 with a larger phase-II international collaboration project aiming for the commercialization of the technology with the delivery of a completed prototype sensor system solution. This solution will include the piezo-MEMS harvester, innovative energy storage devices, an on-chip power management system, a sensor readout and signal acquisition, digital signal processor, and an on-chip wireless transceiver.
Funding for SEHPMET project is provided by VINNOVA, the Swedish Governmental Agency for Innovation Systems under the first 2013 call in the Innovative ICT program. VINNOVA invests in research and strengthens Sweden's innovative capacity for competitiveness, sustainable development and growth. VINNOVA's efforts range from programs for R&D projects in small companies and at universities, to long-term development of strong research and innovation environments that attract R&D investment and expertise from around the world.
For more information see www.vinnova.se/en
About ACREO SWEDISH ICT
Acreo Swedish ICT offers innovative and value-adding ICT solutions for sustainable growth and competitiveness in industry and society. As one of Europe's top research institutes, we provide cutting edge resources and technologies within Sensors and Actuators, Power Electronics, Digital Communication and Life Science. Acreo Swedish ICT has 145 employees in Kista, Gothenburg, Norrkoping and Hudiksvall. Acreo is a part of Swedish ICT. Outstanding expertise within sensor platforms is the core of Sensor System group. A particular strength is their unique test equipments and complementary test procedures for resonating structures & systems. Sensor System group is a leading developer of high performance MEMS inertial sensors and small, low-weight Inertial Measurement Units. The high performance of gyro systems (GyroSmart, ButterflyGyro) combined with the large amount signal processing knowhow places Sensor Systems' inertial measurement units at the top of their class in the world for inertial navigation based on micromechanical sensors.
For more information see www.acreo.se/media
About the Division of Electronic Devices, Dept. of Electrical Engineering, Linkoping University
The division of Electronic Devices, led by Professor Atila Alvandpour, is a world leading research group, internationally recognized for its innovative integrated circuits and system-on-chip solutions. The group has over 25 years of research experience in design of cutting-edge energy-efficient CMOS circuits, as well as close collaboration with major semiconductor companies world-wide. In addition to lots of publications and patents, a number of research works and concepts have been utilized in advanced commercial products such as microprocessors, internet routers, CMOS cameras, data converters, etc. For more information see www.ek.isy.liu.se/
About Silex Microsystems
As a leading pure-play MEMS foundry, Silex Microsystems is driving the sensory system revolution by partnering with the world's most innovative companies to commercialize MEMS technologies that are changing the world. Our unique expertise in providing cutting-edge MEMS foundry services such as among many others PZT based piezo-MEMS processing, innovative process technologies and proven high volume production capabilities enable MEMS innovators to rapidly, cost-effectively and reliably commercialize and ramp products to high volume. At Silex, customers work closely with the industry's most knowledgeable and creative MEMS manufacturing experts and benefit from our global ecosystem of development partners to take MEMS to market faster. www.silexmicrosystems.com
Silex, Silex Microsystems, and Sil-Via are registered trademarks of Silex Microsystems AB. All other product or service names are the property of their respective owners. Copyright Silex Microsystems, 2013