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Proceedings Paper • Open Access

Powering the wireless world with MEMS
Author(s): Samuel B. Schaevitz

Paper Abstract

Battery life is huge problem for today's CE devices and every year the problem gets worse. That is a painful consequence of the explosion in capability and applications in modern wireless electronics of all types, and is particularly acute in advanced smartphones. Fuel cells have long been touted as the solution to the battery problem, and significant programs have been funded at large companies, start-ups, and within academia. Thus far, none of those efforts have resulted in a commercially successful product for consumer electronics. Lilliputian Systems has taken a unique approach by leveraging MEMS fabrication methods to enable the use of a fuel cell known as a solid oxide fuel cell (SOFC). SOFCs provide high efficiency and reliable operation in a very compact Silicon Power Cell™, and allow the use of high energy density fuels, such as butane. This combination overcomes the barriers which have prevented other fuel cell efforts from being commercialized. But in order to use SOFCs, the MEMS structure must operate at elevated temperatures, typically above 600°C, must do so very efficiently, and must be effectively integrated into a complete system. By overcoming these unusual challenges, Lilliputian has developed a solution with a run-time 5-10X longer than existing batteries and with instant recharge by inserting a new cartridge. The absolute safety of the approach is supported by world-wide approval for carry-on and use on airplanes. Over the past several years, Lilliputian Systems has created the many innovations required to bring this complex system to high-volume manufacturing. We will discuss the unique challenges in system architecture and high-temperature MEMS design which have been overcome, enabling Lilliputian to provide long-lasting portable power for consumer electronics devices.

Paper Details

Date Published: 2 February 2012
PDF: 15 pages
Proc. SPIE 8248, Micromachining and Microfabrication Process Technology XVII, 824802 (2 February 2012); doi: 10.1117/12.924356
Show Author Affiliations
Samuel B. Schaevitz, Lilliputian Systems, Inc. (United States)

Published in SPIE Proceedings Vol. 8248:
Micromachining and Microfabrication Process Technology XVII
Mary Ann Maher; Paul J. Resnick, Editor(s)

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