In this work, the development of a Thermoelectric Generator on Flexible Silicon Fabric is explored to extend silicon electronics for flexible platforms. Low cost, easily deployable plastic based flexible electronics are of great interest for smart textile, wearable electronics and many other exciting applications. However, low thermal budget processing and fundamentally limited electron mobility hinders its potential to be competitive with well established and highly developed silicon technology. The use of silicon in flexible electronics involve expensive and abrasive materials and processes. In this work, high performance flexible thermoelectric energy harvesters are demonstrated from low cost bulk silicon (100) wafers. The fabrication of the micro- harvesters was done using existing silicon processes on silicon (100) and then peeled them off from the original substrate leaving it for reuse. Peeled off silicon has 3.6% thickness of bulk silicon reducing the thermal loss significantly and generating nearly 30% more output power than unpeeled harvesters. The demonstrated generic batch processing shows a pragmatic way of peeling off a whole silicon circuitry after conventional fabrication on bulk silicon wafers for extremely deformable high performance integrated electronics. In summary, by using a novel, low cost process, this work has successfully integrated existing and highly developed fabrication techniques to introduce a flexible energy harvester for sustainable applications.
|Date made available
|KAUST Research Repository