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Integrated Energy-Harvesting Photodiodes With Diffractive Storage Capacitance

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6 Author(s)
Erin G. Fong ; Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering, University of California, Davis, CA, USA ; Nathaniel J. Guilar ; Travis J. Kleeburg ; Hai Pham
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Integrating energy-harvesting photodiodes with logic and exploiting on-die interconnect capacitance for energy storage can enable new, ultraminiaturized wireless systems. Unlike CMOS imager pixels, the proposed photodiode designs utilize p-diffusion fingers and are implemented in a conventional logic process. Also unlike specialized solar cell processes, the designs utilize the on-chip metal interconnect to form a diffraction grating above the p-diffusion fingers which also provides capacitive energy storage. To explore the tradeoffs between optical efficiency and energy storage for integrated photodiodes, an array of photovoltaics with various diffractive storage capacitors was designed in a 90-nm CMOS logic process. The diffractive effects can be exploited to increase the photodiodes' response to off-axis illumination. Transient effects from interfacing the photodiodes with switched-capacitor DC-DC converters were examined, with measurements indicating a 50% reduction in the output voltage ripple due to the diffractive storage capacitance. A quantitative comparison between 90-nm and 0.35-μm CMOS logic processes for energy-harvesting capabilities was carried out. Measurements show an increase in power generation for the newer CMOS technology, however at the cost of reduced output voltage. One potential application for the integrated photodiodes is harvesting energy for a subdermal biomedical device.

Published in:

IEEE Transactions on Very Large Scale Integration (VLSI) Systems  (Volume:21 ,  Issue: 3 )