High-performance modules for the Internet of Things

How can the vision of a highly connected society be realized with minimum impact on future energy resources? One possible answer is provided by the Fraunhofer lead project Towards Zero Power Electronics. This involves nine Fraunhofer institutes engaged in building a technology and methodology platform to realize highly integrated, extremely energy-efficient modules for the Internet of Things. As part of this project, a research team at EMFT is developing a measurement principle for particle mass measurement. 

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The results of the successfully completed Fraunhofer lead project ZEPOWEL show how IoT sensor systems can consume extremely little power or function completely autonomously.

 

The partners’ ambitious goal is to minimize the energy and resource needs of electronic systems to an extreme degree. This is to be achieved by means of disruptive, internationally pioneering innovations at all levels of the value creation chain – from the components (e.g. radio transceivers, sensors and energy storage units) to system amalgamation (modularization, integration techniques) and the network technologies used. Fraunhofer EMFT’s contribution this project is to create a gravimetric principle for particulate mass measurement which can be realized in a microsystem for use in a highly integrated CMOS MEMS sensor with extremely low-noise analysis electronics. Needs-based media supply through microactuators will significantly reduce the response time and therefore the energy consumption of the particulate sensor. The sensor will support mobile and autonomous applications in the area of air quality monitoring.

Energy efficient chips for the internet of things
© Fraunhofer EMFT/ Bernd Müller
High voltage silicon micropump driver and capacitive PM2.5 sensor including readout electronics integrated with 180nm CMOS Silicon-on-Insulator (SOI) Technology
Energy efficient particulate matter sensor for Internet-of-Things applications.
© Fraunhofer EMFT/ Bernd Müller
Prototype of a capacitive measurement based particulate matter sensor for PM10, PM2.5 and PM1.0 particulates detection. It consists of a fluidic module including filter, micropump and fluidic channel for aerosol guidance and a sensor module for particulate matter detection.

The partners involved are able to contribute a broad spectrum of interdisciplinary expertise ranging from semiconductor technologies, design methods and integration techniques to comprehensive systemic efficiency analysis.

The solutions developed as part of this project are also to be made directly accessible to industry partners via the technology platform.