Tuning a resonant energy harvester using a generalized electrical load

A Cammarano, S G Burrow, D A W Barton, A Carrella, L R Clare

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (Academic Journal)peer-review

91 Citations (Scopus)


A fundamental drawback of vibration-based energy harvesters is that they typically feature a resonant mass/spring mechanical system to amplify the small source vibrations; the limited bandwidth of the mechanical amplifier restricts the effectiveness of the energy harvester considerably. By extending the range of input frequencies over which a vibration energy harvester can generate useful power, e.g. through adaptive tuning, it is not only possible to open up a wider range of applications, such as those where the source frequency changes over time, but also possible to relax the requirements for precision manufacture or the need for mechanical adjustment in situ. In this paper, a vibration-based energy harvester connected to a generalized electrical load (containing both real and reactive impedance) is presented. It is demonstrated that the reactive component of the electrical load can be used to tune the harvester system to significantly increase the output power away from the resonant peak of the device. An analytical model of the system is developed, which includes non-ideal components arising from the physical implementation, and the results are confirmed by experiment. The − 3 dB (half-power) bandwidth of the prototype energy harvester is shown to be over three times greater when presented with an optimized load impedance compared to that for the same harvester presented with an optimized resistive only load.
Translated title of the contributionTuning a resonant energy harvester using a generalized electrical load
Original languageEnglish
Article number055003
Number of pages7
JournalSmart Materials and Structures
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2010

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