MicroGen/X-FAB completes piezo-MEMS vibration energy harvester process transfer

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BOLT™ micro-power generator enables Texas Instruments EZ430 wireless sensor using Linear Technology LTC3588 power management IC

Dr. Robert Andosca stated, “I am very pleased with the X-FAB MEMS Foundry’s capabilities and know-how.Time to market is of utmost importance with any new product. Without. the X-FAB team we could not be heading into pre-production n such a timely manner."

MicroGen Systems, Inc. announced today that X-FAB MEMS Foundry (http://www.memsfoundry.de) in Itzehoe, Germany has completed the process transfer of its MicroElectroMechanical Systems (MEMS) based piezoelectric platform process onto 200 mm silicon substrates in record time. MicroGen’s first piezo-MEMS product-line is a vibration energy harvester or micro-power generator (MPG) with 100 and 120 Hz, and custom resonant frequency response. The MPG is a small (volume ~1.0 cm3 or less; on the order of the size of a green pea) wafer-level packaged device. MicroGen’s MPGs are low cost, long lifetime (estimated > 20 years) devices that scavenge otherwise wasted ambient vibrational energy will replace or extend the lifetime of batteries in wireless sensor (WS) and other microelectronic applications. In addition, micro-power electronics modules (MPMs) using the Linear Technology LTC3588-1 (http://www.linear.com/product/LTC3588-1) energy harvesting power management integrated circuit (IC) will be offered. MPMs will have output power ranging from 25 to 250 Watts at 3.3 Volts DC depending upon model/part number.

MicroGen’s BOLT™-R0120A MPM with a single X-FAB fabricated MPG has enabled a Texas Instruments eZ430 (http://www.ti.com/ez430) wireless temperature sensor node or “mote” (see TI mote demonstration http://youtu.be/9okGrLlGCDc). In addition, please see BOLT™ ZERO “zero power” from batteries flashing LED demonstration (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=V__ktSBpnN4), where each flash represents a wireless radio transmission. These demonstrations were completed using a calibrated speaker to simulate industrial and building vibration levels ~120 Hz and 0.3 g (g = 9.8 m/s2). TI eZ430 motes require 1.5-9.4 microAmps at 3.3 Volts DC (5 to 31 microWatts) to operate depending upon configuration. All mote configurations were enabled by MicroGen's MPG devices. Shown in the video without packaging, the BOLT™-R0120A MPG’s alternating current (AC) output is efficiently converted to direct current (DC) using the LTC3588-1, and the voltage is regulated to the supply voltage of 3.3 Volts required by the TI node.

X-FAB’s CEO, Rudi De Winter commented, “This has been a very good relation, and X-FAB is pleased to be participating in what we believe is a new green technology that will have a sizable market in the coming years”. X-FAB MEMS Foundry’s General Manager, Peter Merz also said, “Our belief is that, with the background X-FAB MEMS Foundry and its close partnership with the Fraunhofer Institute for process development, and our growing depth of experience in commercial production efforts, we bring a potent and nimble solution to companies like MicroGen. We are pleased to be a partner with MicroGen”.

MicroGen’s CEO, Dr. Robert Andosca stated, “I am very pleased with the X-FAB MEMS Foundry’s capabilities and know-how.” He further affirmed, “Time to market is of utmost importance with any new product. Without the expertise and dedication of the X-FAB team we could not be heading into pre-production in such a timely manner.”

Dr. Andosca added “MicroGen plans to announce the BOLT™ product-line with power management electronics and optional energy storage modules in the summer this year”.

About MicroGen Systems, Inc.
MicroGen is bringing to market a suite of products based on its proprietary MEMS-based piezoelectric platform technology. MicroGen’s initial product-line is a fleet of MPGs and MPMs. MicroGen’s primary target market is the industrial, building and commercial WS markets (e.g. machinery monitoring, lighting control, smart utility metering, and many others), and the secondary is transportation systems (e.g. planes, trains and automobiles, civil infrastructure monitoring, asset tracking).

MicroGen located in Ithaca, NY developed its core piezoelectric platform technology at Cornell University (http://www.cnf.cornell.edu). MicroGen is led by a strong international management team, board of directors and advisory board with significant industry and start-up experience.

For more information, please visit http://www.microgensystems.com

About X-FAB
X-FAB Silicon Foundries AG is the leading analog/mixed-signal foundry group manufacturing silicon wafers for analog-digital integrated circuits (mixed-signal ICs). X-FAB maintains wafer production facilities in Erfurt, Dresden and Itzehoe (Germany), Lubbock, Texas (U.S.), and Kuching, Sarawak (Malaysia), and employs approximately 2,400 people worldwide. Wafers are manufactured based on advanced modular CMOS and BiCMOS processes, as well as MEMS processes, with technologies ranging from 1.0 to 0.13 micrometers for applications primarily in the automotive, communications, consumer and industrial sectors.

For more information, please visit http://www.xfab.com

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Michael Perrotta