Role

The Noise in Physical Systems Laboratory (NiPS) at the Department of Physics and Geology of the University of Perugia (UNIPG) in Italy, led by Prof. L. Gammaitoni, has a long‐standing tradition in studying physical systems in the presence of noise. Scientific interest covers different fields ranging from vibration energy harvesting to stochastic nonlinear dynamics modeling, from thermal noise measurements to design and test of noise activated devices at the micro- and nano-scales.

With reference to energy harvesting, NiPS laboratory group has 10+ years of experience in modelling, implementation and testing of piezoelectric, electromagnetic and electrostatic generators, both at macro‐ and micro‐scale MEMS based technology. In particular, NiPS was the first research group in the world in conceiving nonlinear bistable piezoelectric oscillator as a novel method to outperform traditional resonant harvesters when capturing energy from stochastic vibrations.

Expectations

In the PROTEUS project, NiPS researchers will take advantage of their experience in order to design and fabricate an efficient system able to provide energy to the wireless multi-analytical sensor, feeding on the power sources available in the environment where the device will be placed. In particular, the energy harvesting system will be tailored to exploit both vibrations and water flux fluctuations present in the pipes of the water network. The transduction mechanism will be based on one or combination of the main kinetic‐to‐electricity energy conversion technologies such as piezoelectric, electromagnetic and electrostatic. Depending on the frequency range of the power sources, (i.e. vibrations and water turbulence) we will make use of inertial oscillator with nonlinear dynamical features in order to widen the frequency region where the energy harvester has highest efficiency.

From the project PROTEUS, NiPS lab group expect to fabricate an energy harvester capable to provide an average power density of at least 100 microwatts per cubic centimeter of device volume within a frequency range of 10-300 Hz @ 0.1g of acceleration. With this target power, the generator will be able to sustain the analytical and communication functions of the wireless integrated sensor.

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