Growth and optimization of piezoelectric single crystal transducers for energy harvesting from acoustic sources
Low power requirements of modern sensors and electronics have led to the examination of the feasibility of several energy harvesting schemes. This thesis describes the fabrication and performance of an acoustic energy harvester with single crystal piezoelectric unimorph. The unimorphs were fabricated from single crystal relaxor ferroelectric (1-x)PMN - xPT grown with x = 0.3 and 0.32 as the starting composition. It is demonstrated that significant power can be harvested using unimorph structures from an acoustic field at resonance. Passive circuit components were used for output circuit with a resistive load in series with a tunable inductor. A tuning capacitor connected in parallel to the device further increased the power output by matching the impedance of the unimorph. The power harvested can be either used directly for running low-power devices or can be stored in a rechargeable battery. A comparison of the performance of PMN-PT and PZT unimorphs at the resonance of the coupled structure under identical excitation conditions was done. For a certain optimized thickness ratio and circuit parameters, the single crystal PMN-PT unimorph generated 30 mW of power while a PZT unimorph generated 7.5 mW at resonance and room temperature. The harvested output power from the single crystal PMN-PT unimorphs depends on several material properties, physical and ambient parameters and an effort has been made to study their effect on the performance.
A self-seeding high pressure Bridgman (HPB) technique was used to grow the PMN-PT single crystal ingots in a cost-effective way in our laboratories. Several techniques of material processing were developed to fabricate the PMN-PT single crystal unimorphs from as grown bulk ingots. This growth technique produced good quality single crystals for our experiments, with a k33 = 0.91 for a <001> oriented bar.
0794: Materials science