An Inductorless Bias-Flip Rectifier for Piezoelectric Energy Harvesting

09 Aug 2017

Piezoelectric vibration energy harvesters have drawn much interest for powering self-sustained electronic devices. Furthermore, the continuous push toward miniaturization and higher levels of integration continues to form key drivers for autonomous sensor systems being developed as parts of the emerging Internet of Things (IoT) paradigm. The synchronized switch harvesting (SSH) on inductor and synchronous electrical charge extraction are two of the most efficient interface circuits for piezoelectric energy harvesters; however, inductors are indispensable components in these interfaces. The required inductor values can be up to 10 mH to achieve high efficiencies, which significantly increase overall system volume, counter to the requirement for miniaturized self-power systems for IoT. An inductorless bias-flip rectifier is proposed in this paper to perform residual charge inversion using capacitors instead of inductors. The voltage flip efficiency goes up to 80% while eight switched capacitors are employed. The proposed SSH on capacitors circuit is designed and fabricated in a 0.35-μm CMOS process. The performance is experimentally measured and it shows a 9.7x performance improvement compared with a full-bridge rectifier for the case of a 2.5-V open-circuit zero-peak voltage amplitude generated by the piezoelectric harvester. This performance improvement is higher than most of the reported state-of-the-art inductor-based interface circuits, while the proposed circuit has a significantly smaller overall volume enabling system miniaturization.