Effect of Electrode Structure on the Performance of Fully Printed Piezoelectric Energy Harvesters


Flexible piezoelectric energy harvesters have the potential to be used as power sources for wearable electronics. This study presents a simple printing-based fabrication process for a flexible piezoelectric energy harvesting module with an integrated and optimized SMD-based full-wave diode bridge rectifier. We investigate the effect of the electrode configuration on the energy harvesting performance of the piezoelectric elements. Two types of piezoelectric elements are fabricated (a metal-insulator-metal (MIM) structure and an interdigitated electrode (IDE) structure) for comparison. The electrodes are inkjet printed using poly(3,4-ethylenedioxythiophene):poly(styrene sulfonate) (PEDOT:PSS), and the piezoelectric layer is bar coated using poly(vinylidene-fluoride-co-trifluoroethylene) (P(VDF-TrFE). The results show that a higher output power density can be obtained with the MIM-based energy harvester (7.8 μW/cm3) when compared to the IDE-based harvester (20.8 nW/cm3). Simulation results show that this is explained by the higher current output (i.e., charge generation ability) of the MIM-based structure.

Date of Publication: March 2, 2022
Electronic ISSN: 2768-167X
Publisher: IEEE
Faculty of Information Technology and Communication Sciences, Tampere University, Tampere, Finland
Karem Lozano Montero received the M.Sc. degree in electrical engineering from Tampere University, Tampere, Finland, in 2019, where she is currently pursuing the D.Sc. (Tech.) degree with the Printable Electronics Research Group. Her doctoral research focuses on the development of ultrathin flexible printed sensors and energy harvesters for electronic skin applications.
Faculty of Information Technology and Communication Sciences, Tampere University, Tampere, Finland
Matti Mäntysalo (Member, IEEE) received the M.Sc. and D.Sc. (Tech.) degrees in electrical engineering from Tampere University of Technology, Tampere, Finland, in 2004 and 2008, respectively.
From 2011 to 2012, he was a Visiting Scientist with the iPack Vinn Excellence Center, School of Information and Communication Technology, KTH Royal Institute of Technology, Stockholm, Sweden. He is currently a Professor of electronics with Tampere University. He has authored or coauthored more than 100 research articles. His research interests include printed electronics materials, fabrication processes, stretchable electronics, sensors, and the integration of printed electronics with silicon-based technology (hybrid systems).
Dr. Mäntysalo has served IEEE EDS and EPS, IEC, and Organic Electronic Association. He was a recipient of the Academy Research Fellow (2015–2020) from the Academy of Finland. He has awarded for the first inkjet-printed global system for mobile communications (GSM)-based band integration.
Faculty of Information Technology and Communication Sciences, Tampere University, Tampere, Finland
Mika-Matti Laurila received the D.Sc. (Tech.) degree in electrical engineering from Tampere University, Tampere, Finland, in 2019.
He is currently working as a Marie Curie Research Fellow with Tampere University. His research interests are related to the development of fully printed, ultraflexible, and highly imperceptible piezoelectric sensors for biosignal monitoring.

Fig. 1.

Block diagram of a piezoelectric energy-harvester system showing its typical components.

Fig. 2.

Illustration of the fabrication of a piezoelectric energy harvester with the rectifier circuit integrated for (a) IDE and (b) MIM structures.

Fig. 3.

Schematic of the poling orientation of the (a) IDE and (b) MIM devices in a cross sectional view. G represents the gap between electrodes.

Fig. 4.

Photograph of the printed IDE structures. (a) One-layer IDE. (b) Ten-layer IDE.

Fig. 5.

P –E hysteresis loop. (a) MIM-based piezoelectric harvester. (b) IDE-based piezoelectric harvester (one- and ten-layer IDE structures). Error bars in the P –E loops show the minimum and maximum measured values.

Fig. 6.

Peak output power density of the MIM- and IDE-based elements.

Fig. 7.

(a) Photograph of one of the fabricated MIM-based piezoelectric energy-harvester modules. (b) Equivalent circuit of the module used for simulations. (c) Experimental and simulation results of a capacitor charging using an MIM-based piezoelectric nanogenerator for 0.05 μF (Rleakage=18GΩ ), 0.1 μF (Rleakage=15GΩ ), and 1 μF (Rleakage=200GΩ ). (d) Experimental and simulation results of a capacitor charging using IDE-based piezoelectric nanogenerators for 0.05 μF .

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