A new electrode design method in piezoelectric vibration energy harvesters to maximize output power20 Jul 2017
A resonant vibration energy harvester typically comprises of a clamped anchor and a vibrating shuttle with a proof mass. Piezoelectric materials are embedded in locations of high strain in order to transduce mechanical deformation into electrical charge. Conventional design for piezoelectric vibration energy harvesters (PVEH) usually utilizes piezoelectric materials and metal electrode layers covering the entire surface area of the cantilever with no consideration provided to examine the trade-off involved with respect to maximize output power. This paper reports on the theory and experimental verification underpinning optimization of the active electrode area in order to maximize output power. The calculations show that, in order to maximize the output power of a PVEH, the electrode should cover the piezoelectric layer from the peak strain area to a position, where the strain is a half of the average strain in all the previously covered area. With the proposed electrode design, the output power can be improved by 145% and 126% for a cantilever and a clamped-clamped beam, respectively. MEMS piezoelectric harvesters are fabricated to experimentally validate the theory.