IEEE Home | Shop IEEE | Join IEEE | myIEEE | Contact IEEE | IEEEXplore


IEEE Workshop on Microelectronics and Electron Devices (WMED)

IEEE Boise Section || Contact WMED


Pixel Structures for Energy Harvesting Image Sensors

I. Cevik and S. U. Ay
University of Idaho
Moscow, ID, USA


Many modern sensor applications require the sensor to work in isolated environments on its own for extended durations. In most of these cases it is very hard to access the sensor and change the batteries. For instance, accessing the sensor requires surgery in the case of implanted biomedical sensors. Even very low power, low-leakage, and energy-efficient systems are limited by the finite energy stored on a battery. Therefore, it is desirable for the sensor system to harvest energy from the environment to assist the battery or completely remove the battery. Photovoltaic (PV) energy harvesting is one viable source with high conversion efficiency and is also compatible with the standard CMOS process. [1,2,3]. The same pn-junction structures readily available in CMOS processes that are used to build the image sensing photodiodes can be used to build solar cells. Integrating energy harvesting capability into image sensors reduces system cost and volume and avoids many unnecessary energy conversions with energy loss and enables the sensor to use readily available energy in the environment. A number of CMOS image sensor designs with energy harvesting photodiodes have been reported with primary focus on the development of pixel cell structure to improve harvesting ability. [4-9] This work will review and compare the energy harvesting image sensor structures presented in literature and whether autonomous sensors might be possible with this technology solving the powering problem of isolated sensors.


[1] M. Ferri, D. Pinna, et. al, "Integrated micro-solar cell structures for harvesting supplied microsystem in 0.35um CMOS technology," Proc. of IEEE Sensors Conf., pp542-545, 2009
[2] B. Plesz, et. al., "Feasibility study of a CMOS-compatible integrated solar photovoltaic cell array," Proc. of Sym. on Design Test Integration and Packaging of MEMS/MOEMS, pp403-406, 2010
[3] E. G. Fong, et. al., "Integrated energy-harvesting photodiodes with diffractive storage capacitance," IEEE Trans. on Very Large Scale Integration (VLSI) Systems, vol.99, 2012
[4] C. Shi, et. al., "A novel asynchronous pixel for an energy harvesting CMOS image Sensor," IEEE Trans. on Very Large Scale Integration (VLSI) Systems, vol.19, No.1, pp.118-129, 2011
[5] M. Perenzoni and L. Gonzo, "Solar-powered CMOS image sensor", Electronics Letters, vol.46, no.1, 2010
[6] J. Ohta, T. Tokuda, K. Sasagawa, and T. Noda, “Implantable CMOS biomedical devices,” Sensors, vol. 9, issue 11, pp. 9073-9093, 2009
[7] Markus Schwarz, et. al., “Single-Chip CMOS Image Sensors for a Retina Implant System,” IEEE Trans on Circuits and Systems, vol. 46, no. 7, pp870-877, 1999
[8] N. Guilar, et. al., "Integrated solar energy harvesting and storage," IEEE Trans. on Very Large Scale Integration (VLSI) Systems, vol. 17, pp627-637, 2009
[9] S. Ay, “A CMOS energy harvesting and imaging (EHI) active pixel sensor (APS) imager for retinal prosthesis,” IEEE Trans. On Biomedical CAS, vol. 5, pp. 535–545, 2011





This workshop is receiving technical co-sponsorship support from the IEEE Electron Devices Society.

Follow us on Facebook  | Follow us on LinkedIn 

WMED 2013 Home | IEEE Home | Privacy & Opting Out of Cookies | Terms & Conditions

Copyright 2013 IEEE All Rights Reserved. Use of this website signifies your agreement to the Terms of Use. For questions or comments, please contact the WMED Webmaster.