Power Conditioning for Pyroelectric Energy Harvest
at ORAU/ORISE DoD Programs

Date Posted: 12/4/2018

Opportunity Description

A research opportunity is available at the U.S. Army Research Laboratory's (ARL) Sensors and Electron Devices Directorate (SEDD), located at Adelphi, MD. SEDD is seeking a candidate with a PhD in Engineering: Electrical, Computer or Microelectronics. Harvesting energy from a rapidly varying heat source using the pyroelectric effect has yet to be fully realized. This research opportunity focuses on the circuit design and implementation that will condition the electrical signal from the pyroelectric energy conversion process to a useful consumption of power, such as charging a battery. The candidate will be expected to do research autonomously to design, assemble, and implement an energy harvesting circuit, resulting in a technology demonstration and academic publication(s) within the first year. To date, this remains one of the greatest challenges for pyroelectric energy conversion. Pyroelectric energy conversion takes place during synchronous electric field and thermal cycles. First, a pyroelectric capacitor is charged. Then the capacitor is discharged thermally via the pyroelectric effect under an applied field. The field is then reduced on the hot capacitor, which is cooled under a lower field, repolarizing and bringing the cycle back to the beginning. The frequency of this cycle can range from 0.1-1000 Hz, the pyroelectric currents are expected to be on the order of 0.1-100 ?A and the applied voltages from 1-100 V. This cycle has been performed using modulated laser irradiation, creating a new wireless power transfer technique which is currently lacking power conditioning for the converted thermal energy. Eligibility: • Graduate-level education in Electrical Engineering • Experience with power electronics such as power converters and rectification systems; knowledge of switched capacitor circuits would also be helpful. • Demonstrated circuit modelling-to-implementation experience • Experience with printed circuit board design and layout • Good communication skills and personal initiative The application should include a cover letter that discusses specific experience with the above and any initial thoughts on circuit implementation. Some good references are: S. Pamir Alpay, Joseph Mantese, Susan Trolier-McKinstry, Qiming Zhang and Roger W. Whatmore, Next-generation electrocaloric and pyroelectric materials for solid-state electrothermal energy interconversion. MRS Bulletin, 39, pp 1099-1111 (2014) G. Sebald, S. Pruvost, D. Guyomar, Energy harvesting based on Ericsson pyroelectric cycles in a relaxor ferroelectric ceramic, Smart Materials & Structures, 17 (2008) G. Sebald, E. Lefeuvre, D. Guyornar, Pyroelectric energy conversion: optimization principles, IEEE Transactions on Ultrasonics Ferroelectrics and Frequency Control, 55 (2008), pp. 538–551

Opportunity Snapshot

  • Employee Type: Full-Time
  • Location: Adelphi, MD
  • Opportunity Type: Other
  • Experience: Not Specified
  • Date Posted: 12/4/2018

About Us

Oak Ridge Associated Universities (ORAU) administers Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) research participation programs for civilians such as:

The Oak Ridge Institute for Science and Education (ORISE) Program that allow senior scientists, faculty; high school, bachelor’s, masters’ and doctoral students, and recent graduates to enhance their science education experience in projects and activities at our Department of Defense (DOD) and other Government and Private Industry customers’ laboratories and research facilities worldwide.

The U.S. Army Research Laboratory (ARL) Research Associateship Program (RAP) allow Postdoctoral Fellows, Journeyman Fellows (undergraduate and graduates students and recent graduates), Senior Researchers, and Summer Faculty engage in research initiatives of their own choice, that are compatible with the interests of the government and will potentially contribute to the general effort of the ARL. Scientists and engineers at ARL help shape and execute the Army's program for meeting the challenge of developing technologies that will support Army forces in meeting future operational needs.

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