In this work we discuss a novel design concept of energy harvester (EH), based on Microsystem (MEMS) technology, meant to convert mechanical energy, available in the form of vibrations scattered in the surrounding environment, into electrical energy by means of the piezoelectric conversion principle. The resonant structure, named four-leaf clover (FLC), is circular and based on four petallike double mass-spring systems, kept suspended through four straight beams anchored to the surrounding Silicon frame. Differently from standard cantilever-type EHs that typically convert energy uniquely in correspondence with the fundamental vibration frequency, this particular shape is aimed to exploit multiple resonant modes and, thereby, to increase the performance and the operation bandwidth of the MEMS device. A preliminary non-optimized design of the FLC is discussed and physical samples of the sole mechanical resonator, fabricated at the DIMES Technology Center (Delft University of Technology, the Netherlands), are experimentally characterized. Their behaviour is compared against simulations performed in ANSYS Workbench™, confirming good accuracy of the predictive method. Furthermore, the electromechanical multiphysical behaviour of the FLC EH is also analysed in Workbench, by adding a layer with piezoelectric conversion properties in the simulation. The measured and simulated data reported in this paper confirm that the MEMS converter exhibits multiple resonant modes in the frequency range below 1 kHz, where most of the environmental vibration energy is scattered, and extracted power levels of 0.2 μW can be achieved as well, in closed-loop conditions. Further developments of this work are expected to fully prove the high-performance of the FLC concept, and are going to be addressed by the authors of this work in the on-going activities.
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