PITA Fiscal Year 2011 Projects

Integrated Power Management Interfaces for Enzymatic Fuel-Cell Energy Sources

Lead University: Carnegie Mellon University
PI: Jeyanandh Paramesh, Electrical and Computer Engineering
Co-PI: Alan Russell, Dept. of Bioengineering and Chemical Engineering, University of Pittsburgh
Interest in implanted microsystems has surged in recent years mainly due to advances in technology to provide sensing, computation and actuation in a package with tiny form factor. Nevertheless, a sustainable energy source to replace non-renewable chemical batteries has remained elusive. This project is guided by two observations: first, it is recognized that bio-fuel cells that use glucose, the natural energetic molecule that occurs in the body, are an attractive choice to provide a self-sustainable energy source for implantable microsystems. Second, concerted efforts must be made to develop novel implanted electronics that operate with extremely low energy consumption, so that useful functionality is achieved even with an ultra-low energy source. A two-pronged effort is pursued in this project: (1) a second-generation mediator-free enzymatic fuel cell for implants will be developed to output above 10μW of continuous power, and (2) a power management integrated circuit that acts as an between the fuel-cell and the core electronics in order to provide a suitable energy source for the latter. The power management interface will be based on reconfigurable switched-capacitor DC-DC converters with targeted efficiencies of > 70%.