A 66pW Discontinuous Switch-Capacitor Energy Harvester for Self-Sustaining Sensor Applications


We present a discontinuous harvesting approach for switch capacitor DC-DC converters that enables ultra-low power energy harvesting. By slowly accumulating charge on an input capacitor and then transferring it to a battery in burst-mode, switching and leakage losses in the DC-DC converter can be optimally traded-off with the loss due to non-ideal MPPT operation. The harvester uses a 15pW mode controller, an automatic conversion ratio modulator, and a moving sum charge pump for low startup energy upon a mode switch. In 180nm CMOS, the harvester achieves $>$40% end-to-end efficiency from 113pW to 1.5$µ$W with 66pW minimum input power, marking a $>$10× improvement over prior ultra-low power harvesters.

2016 IEEE Symposium on VLSI Circuits (VLSI-Circuits)
Kaiyuan Yang
Assistant Professor of ECE