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Dr S Kar-Narayan

This course covers the basic principles and recent advances in energy harvesting technologies for small-power applications, including self-powered or autonomous systems, with a focus on the role of materials and nanotechnology in the development of these technologies.

The course will cover photovoltaic, thermoelectric, piezoelectric, triboelectric and pyroelectric energy harvesting, and the relevant materials and device considerations. The course will also cover energy conversion and storage, including microbatteries and supercapacitors that complement energy harvesting technologies. These technologies are primarily aimed at wireless sensors, a selection of which will also be included in the course.

This lecture course will cover:

  • Overall scope and objectives. Introduction to energy harvesting for autonomous systems; energy requirements and power sources. The role of materials in energy harvesting.
  • Photovoltaic (PV) energy harvesting. Evolution of PV materials and devices. Nanostructuring as a route to cheap and efficient PV technologies.
  • Mechanical energy harvesting. Transduction mechanisms. Piezoelectric, electromagnetic and electrostatic generators. Nano-piezoelectric generators: materials, performance and example devices. New-generation triboelectric nanogenerators.
  • Thermoelectric energy harvesting. Basic thermoelectric theory. Thermoelectric figures of merit. Novel nanostructured thermoelectric materials and devices.
  • Thermal energy harvesting using pyroelectric materials. Thermodynamic cycles for pyroelectric energy harvesting. Nanostructured and micro-scale materials and devices.
  • Microbatteries. Thin film batteries for energy storage Materials for high-energy density 2D and 3D batteries.
  • Supercapacitors. Electrolyte and electrode materials. Fundamentals, challenges and applications.
  • Energy harvesting circuits and architectures. Power management electronics. Relevant circuits and systems.