Micron scale energy harvesters using multiple piezoelectric polymer layers

Alperen Toprak, Onur Tigli

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


This paper presents the design, fabrication, and experimental results of micron scale energy harvesters that utilize piezoelectric polymer polyvinylidene fluoride-trifluoroethylene (PVDF-TrFE). Proposed devices are free-standing thin film cantilevers with multiple PVDF-TrFE and electrode layers. During the design phase, optimal piezoelectric layer thickness for the chosen substrate was calculated as 7.4 μm. In order to alleviate the potential fabrication problems, a multilayer approach was adopted instead of coating a single layer. Device dimensions were selected to yield resonance frequencies below 1 kHz. Cantilever type piezoelectric energy harvesters with 3 parallel-connected PVDF-TrFE layers were created using standard microfabrication techniques. Energy harvesting performances of the fabricated devices were evaluated using an electrodynamic shaker and an accelerometer to create and observe input vibrations at different amplitudes and frequencies. Measurement results were compared with theoretical calculations and the effect of substrate clamping was discussed. The power output of a (1800 μm × 2000 μm) prototype was measured as 0.1 μW when driven with a peak input acceleration of 1.0 g at its resonance frequency of 192.5 Hz. Half power bandwidth of the same prototype was measured as 2.9 Hz. Proposed energy harvesters have relatively low resonance frequencies for their sizes and have the potential to be easily integrated with other microfabricated devices.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)412-418
Number of pages7
JournalSensors and Actuators, A: Physical
StatePublished - Jan 1 2018


  • CMOS compatibility
  • Energy harvesting
  • Microelectromechanical systems (MEMS)
  • Piezoelectric polymers
  • Polyvinylidene fluoride-trifluoroethylene (PVDF-TrFE)

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Electronic, Optical and Magnetic Materials
  • Instrumentation
  • Condensed Matter Physics
  • Surfaces, Coatings and Films
  • Metals and Alloys
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering


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