Resonant-based vibration harvesters have conventionally relied upon accessing the fundamental mode of directly excited resonance to maximize the conversion efficiency of mechanical-to-electrical power transduction. This paper explores the use of parametric resonance, which unlike the former, the resonant-induced amplitude growth, is not limited by linear damping and wherein can potentially offer higher and broader nonlinear peaks. A numerical model has been constructed to demonstrate the potential improvements over the convention. Despite the promising potential, a damping-dependent initiation threshold amplitude has to be attained prior to accessing this alternative resonant phenomenon. Design approaches have been explored to passively reduce this initiation threshold. Furthermore, three representative MEMS designs were fabricated with both 25 and 10 μm thick device silicon. The devices include electrostatic cantilever-based harvesters, with and without the additional design modification to overcome initiation threshold amplitude. The optimum performance was recorded for the 25 μm thick threshold-aided MEMS prototype with device volume ~0.147 mm3. When driven at 4.2 ms−2, this prototype demonstrated a peak power output of 10.7 nW at the fundamental mode of resonance and 156 nW at the principal parametric resonance, as well as a 23-fold decrease in initiation threshold over the purely parametric prototype. An approximate doubling of the half-power bandwidth was also observed for the parametrically excited scenario.
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Jia, Y., Yan, J., Soga, K., & Seshia, A. A. (2013). Parametrically excited MEMS vibration energy harvesters with design approaches to overcome the initiation threshold amplitude. Journal of Micromechanics and Microengineering, 23(11), . https://doi.org/10.1088/0960-1317/23/11/114007