Ambient Power Harvesting!

This paper was one of the first ones I dove into while taking ECE 203. Although a lot of it was over my head at the time, I think this paper is great for a few reasons that merit making a post.

  1. It has an amazing premise. Harvesting milivolts of power? From random sources? Count me in. This is such a cool concept!
  2. It shows a number of different use cases, with various amounts of success. The authors did not cherry-pick their results.
  3. It provides a striking example of the interdependence of analog and digital systems. Power supplies are often thought of as purely analog. However, in this paper the circuit uses an Atmega128 to maximize the power extracted.

“A Multiple-Input Boost Converter for Low-Power Energy Harvesting” IEEE Link

Power Draw from Multiple Sources

Because I have a project in mind which would eventually use a main and reserve power source isolated from each other until the main source is depleted, I want to ask if anyone knows about how such a system is achieved and what things need to be considered in designing the system to accomplish minimal reserve power loss.

Textbook on Aspects of Power Circuit Engineering

The textbook “Fundamentals of Power Electronics” by Robert W. Erickson and Dragan Maksimović of the University of Colorado appears to be, upon reading of the first few sections, a good resource to explain concepts of power engineering that one might want to know. Similar to past events, the first few subsections of the first chapter introduce basic concepts and terminology while diagramming some more complex systems of interest. The latest edition of the book is the 2nd edition, but there is evidently a 3rd edition which is expected to be published this year.



Silicon Carbide (SiC)’s Place in Upgrading Everyday Power Systems

I found this July 2019 article written by Maurizio Emilio, an author on the EE Times, to be pretty interesting.

It starts off by introducing how silicon carbide (SiC) is a “next-generation” material that can be effectively used to reduce power losses and enable higher power density, voltages, temperatures, and frequencies while reducing head dissipation. This is big as the loss of energy through thermal energy (heat) makes it so power systems’ designs are more complex due to the implementation of a cooling system, or otherwise, having to spend/cut down on resources for an additional feature.

Specifically, this article talked about what SiC could do for the aviation industry in terms of lowering the weight of components – leading to reduced fuel consumption/emission. However, I believe the application can be extended towards general power systems like high-power density power converters. Emilio mentioned how SiC has a wide bandgap, high thermal conductivity, and high resistance to electric field breakage, which helps reduce power losses. I feel like this would be very applicable as we use silicon already in many of the electrical applications. One problem outlined is the management of the gate drive conditioning circuit, in other words, managing the gate timing.

One of the main points to take away was Emilio’s explanation of why SiC MOSFETs are a better option than its silicon counterpart. The former can function in hostile environments (600 degrees C) and achieve the same rated voltage in a smaller package.

I encourage everyone to read the article during their free time. It’s cool to think how as technology progress, we find more and more ways to expand even further with our products, in this case, it’s the making of power systems.

2nd event of winter term 2019

2nd analog and power event will be held 6pm Tuesday, 03/10. This time I will share my experiences about my PhD. I encourage everyone share your experiences that you are comfortable with. Find your future of study and Career.

Machine Learning for Spacecraft at Europa: Enabling Faster Exploration in a High-Radiation Environment at 01/22/2020 – 1:00pm

Gleeson 200
Wed, 01/22/2020 – 1:00pm

Kiri L. Wagstaff
Senior Instructor, Oregon State University, Principal Researcher, NASA Jet
Propulsion Laboratory

Upcoming missions to remote destinations like Jupiter’s moon Europa will
operate at extreme distances from the Earth where direct human oversight is
impossible. The combination of extreme distance, limited lifetime due to high
radiation, and limited data downlink creates an urgent need for reliable
autonomous operations.

Machine learning can help by analyzing data for features of interest as it is
collected. Data with positive detections can be marked for high priority
downlink to Earth for mission planning. For Europa, such features include
active icy plumes and unusual surface mineral deposits.

This talk describes data analysis and machine learning methods that can
operate onboard to increase the rate of exploration and discovery. I will
also describe how to assess algorithm radiation sensitivity to determine
which ones are sufficiently robust for mission use.


Read more:…


IEEE Oregon Section Young Professionals are having our Bowling Night! Please come and meet engineers and professionals & show off your bowling skills. Register ASAP so that we can have accurate headcounts for line reservation.

Ask for the IEEE event when you come in. 

Date and Time

  • Date: 31 Jan 2020
  • Time: 06:00 PM to 08:00 PM