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High-Voltage Micro-Photovoltaic Cells and Photodetectors Based on Guided Nanowires for On-Chip Powering of Autonomous Microsystems

High-Voltage Micro-Photovoltaic Cells and Photodetectors Based on Guided Nanowires for On-Chip Powering of Autonomous Microsystems

Objective

The Internet of Things (IoT) relies on billions of autonomous miniaturized sensor nodes deployed over the environment, homes, offices, and our own clothes and bodies. Powering these sensors creates a huge and urgent demand for smaller devices capable of harvesting energy from the environment and supplying the required power characteristics. Photovoltaic (PV) cells are attractive sources of renewable energy in illuminated environments, but their output voltage is limited to a few volts, whereas MEMS sensors often require higher voltages to operate. Such voltages can only be achieved by connecting several PV cells in series, or using large converters, two solutions that are prohibitive in terms of size and weight. Core-shell semiconductor nanowires (NWs) are ideal structures for efficient miniaturized PV cells, but lack of control in their assembly has prevented their integration in series.

Using the guided growth approach developed in our ERC Advanced project, we have succeeded to produce highly ordered planar arrays of NWs with exquisite structural control, which enabled us to create efficient PV cells and integrate them in series to multiply their open-circuit voltage to virtually any desired value. This power supply is expected to outperform all existing miniature power sources for the IoT by orders of magnitude. The aim of this PoC is to develop a prototype of a CMOS/MEMS-compatible high-voltage micro-PV cell based on series-connected core-shell NW arrays, and demonstrate its on-chip integration with a working microsystem.

This demonstration will set the path to commercialization for various applications, including but not limited to IoT. A strong added value is expected for microelectronics manufacturers, who can integrate PV cells together with MEMS sensors on the same chip, thus gaining size advantage. We will prepare a commercialization strategy and carry out IPR considerations in order to obtain strong IP position in this immensely growing market.
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Host institution

WEIZMANN INSTITUTE OF SCIENCE LTD

Address

Herzl Street 234
7610001 Rehovot

Israel

Activity type

Higher or Secondary Education Establishments

EU Contribution

€ 150 000

Beneficiaries (1)

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WEIZMANN INSTITUTE OF SCIENCE LTD

Israel

EU Contribution

€ 150 000

Project information

Grant agreement ID: 838702

Status

Ongoing project

  • Start date

    1 February 2019

  • End date

    31 July 2020

Funded under:

H2020-EU.1.1.

  • Overall budget:

    € 150 000

  • EU contribution

    € 150 000

Hosted by:

WEIZMANN INSTITUTE OF SCIENCE LTD

Israel