Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Microchip harvests its own energy

Date:
December 15, 2010
Source:
University of Twente
Summary:
Microchips that ‘harvest’ the energy they need from their own surroundings, without depending on batteries or mains electricity. That will be possible now that researchers have for the first time succeeded in manufacturing a microchip with an efficient solar cell placed on top of the microelectronics.

Microchips that 'harvest' the energy they need from their own surroundings, without depending on batteries or mains electricity. That will be possible now that researchers from the University of Twente's MESA+ Institute for Nanotechnology, together with colleagues from the universities of Nankai (China) and Utrecht, have for the first time succeeded in manufacturing a microchip with an efficient solar cell placed on top of the microelectronics.

The researchers presented their findings at the International Electron Device Meeting in San Francisco.

The placement of a solar cell directly on top of the electronics means the autonomous chip does not need batteries. In this way, for example, a sensor chip can be produced, complete with the necessary intelligence and even an antenna for wireless communication. However, the chip's energy use must be well below 1 milliwatt, say the researchers. The chip can then even collect enough energy to operate indoors.

The simplest solution would seem to be to manufacture the solar cell separately and then fit it on top of the electronics, but this is not the most efficient production process, so instead the researchers use the chip as a base and apply the solar cell to it layer by layer. This uses fewer materials, and also ultimately performs better. But the combination is not trouble-free: there is a risk that the steps in the production of the solar cell will damage the electronics so that they function less efficiently.

For this reason the researchers decided to use solar cells made of amorphous silicon or CIGS (copper -- indium -- gallium -- selenide). The manufacturing procedure for these cells does not influence the electronics, and these types of solar cells also produce sufficient power, even in low light. Tests have shown that the electronics and the solar cells function properly, and the manufacturing process is also highly suitable for industrial serial production with the use of standard processes.

The research was carried out in the Semiconductor Components group led by Prof. Jurriaan Schmitz. The researchers collaborated with colleagues from Nankai University in Tianjin, China and the Debye Institute of Utrecht University. The research was made possible by the STW Technology Foundation.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University of Twente. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

University of Twente. "Microchip harvests its own energy." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 15 December 2010. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/12/101214085847.htm>.
University of Twente. (2010, December 15). Microchip harvests its own energy. ScienceDaily. Retrieved September 19, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/12/101214085847.htm
University of Twente. "Microchip harvests its own energy." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/12/101214085847.htm (accessed September 19, 2014).

Share This



More Matter & Energy News

Friday, September 19, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

MIT BioSuit A New Take On Traditional Spacesuits

MIT BioSuit A New Take On Traditional Spacesuits

Newsy (Sep. 19, 2014) The MIT BioSuit could be an alternative to big, bulky traditional spacesuits, but the concept needs some work. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Virtual Reality Headsets Unveiled at Tokyo Game Show

Virtual Reality Headsets Unveiled at Tokyo Game Show

AFP (Sep. 18, 2014) Several companies unveiled virtual reality headsets at the Tokyo Game Show, Asia's largest digital entertainment exhibition. Duration: 00:48 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Apple's iOS8 Includes New 'Killswitch' To Curb Theft

Apple's iOS8 Includes New 'Killswitch' To Curb Theft

Newsy (Sep. 18, 2014) Apple's new operating system, iOS 8, comes with Apple's killswitch feature already activated, unlike all the models before it. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Stocks Hit All-Time High as Fed Holds Steady

Stocks Hit All-Time High as Fed Holds Steady

AP (Sep. 17, 2014) The Federal Reserve signaled Wednesday that it plans to keep a key interest rate at a record low because a broad range of U.S. economic measures remain subpar. Stocks hit an all-time high on the news. (Sept. 17) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins