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Taiwan Invents Light-power Harvesting Technology for IoT

By Korbin Lan
Published: Mar 23,2015

TAIPEI, Taiwan - Taiwanese national research center, National Nano Device Laboratories (NDL) has researched and developed an 3D Integrated light harvesting technology that can be applied to Internet of Things chips. Chips that can capture light energy can be integrated into IoT chips using a 3D stacking method, which will enable chips to generate power using ambient light.

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Traditional ligh collection energy methods place chips and light energy harvesting modules separately on circuit boards. This not only makes the device surface large, but longer transmission distances also lead to high resource consumption. However NDL’s 3D integration technology uses 3D layer processing technology for stack light energy harvesting modules and chips which can meet demands for light weight and small size, while also giving consideration to the integrity of IC chips.

This technology can increase energy harvesting functionality without altering the chips’ sizes, and the stacking method effectively shrinks the circuit board surface area by approximately 60%. At the same time, it also lowers the transmission distance, which reduces energy consumption.

National Nano Device Laboratories Team Leader Shen Chang-hong stated that this technology is based on thin-film solar battery, is not only capable of collecting solar energy, but also collects indoor lighting. Currently, its power supply capacity can collect between 20uW/cm2 to 10mW/ cm2 of power, depending on the strength of the indoor and outdoor light. Furthermore, this technology makes use of a large surface area and is excellent for mass production.

Shen Chang-hong also stated that currently they are already collaborating with a few semiconductor companies to research and develop related chips and applications.

He pointed out even though energy harvesting is still currently not suitable for use in smart devices, such as smartwatches, it has a sufficient capacity to supply power for a number of IoT chips.

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