Efficient power conversion interface circuits for energy harvesting applications Public Deposited

http://ir.library.oregonstate.edu/concern/graduate_thesis_or_dissertations/5q47rr95w

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  • Harvesting energy from the environment for powering micro-power devices have been increasing in popularity. These types of devices can be used in embedded applications or in sensor networks where battery replacement is impractical. In this dissertation, different methods of energy harvesting from the environment are explored as alternative sources of energy for devices. Some of the most popular energy extraction used in electronic devices today are radio frequency (RF) and thermal/vibrational energy extraction. This dissertation presents novel power techniques that enable some of the most efficient power conversion circuits published to date. New power conversion circuits to interface to a piezoelectric micro-power generator that produces electrical energy from temperature differences have been fabricated and tested. Circuit designs and measurement results are presented for a half-wave synchronous rectifier with voltage doubler, a full-wave synchronous rectifier and a passive full-wave rectifier circuit. The active rectifier based on synchronous rectification, fabricated in a 0.25-μm CMOS process, is 86% efficient with 22-μW peak output power when connected to the piezoelectric micro-power generator. This gives the highest efficiency to date for active rectification circuits at the micro-power level. The passive rectifier circuit is 66% efficient with 16-μW peak output power and requires no quiescent current to operate. RF-powered devices are typically inductively coupled and extract their energy from the near field while operating within a few inches of the radiating source. Longer operating distances, exceeding 10 meters, are desired for a broader set of applications including distributed sensor networks. This dissertation describes an efficient method for far field power extraction from RF energy to enable long distance passively powered sensor networks. Passive rectifier circuits are designed in the TSMC 0.25μm mixed-signal CMOS process and antennas for the system are printed on a 4-layer FR4 board. A high-Q resonator is used with a matching network to passively amplify the input voltage to the rectifier. At the circuit level, floating gate transistors are used as rectifying diodes to reduce the diode threshold loss in voltage rectification and therefore increase the rectifier efficiency. A 36-stage rectifier fabricated in a 0.25-μm CMOS process attains an efficiency of over 60% in the far field with a received power sensitivity of 5.5μW(-22.6 dBm), corresponding to an operating distance of 44 meters. The effective threshold voltage of the floating-gate diode is reduced to 36 mV. This is the highest performance for far-field RF energy conversion reported to date. In ultra-low energy system, such as sensor networks, it is essential that power management circuitry are designed to dissipate very low quiescent power. RF energy and power management circuits are designed in a 0.18μm CMOS process. Voltage regulators are designed to operate at high input voltage and low power in a standard CMOS process. The voltage regulators can withstand input voltages up to 12 volts and dissipates from 90 nW to 1.4 μW of power. A floating-gate programming circuit is designed with a self-wakeup timer that turns itself on about once a month. The floating-gate programming circuits dissipates about 30 nW in sleep mode and 8 μW in active mode.
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