Performance improvement of a micro thermomechanical generator by incorporating Galinstan (R) micro droplet arrays
In previous research we have demonstrated a micro thermomechanical pyroelectric generator (mu TMPG) as an alternative to thermoelectric generators to harvest ambient heat energy. In such a device, a thermal mass oscillates between a hot and a cold side by virtue of the bistability of its mechanical mount, thus generating a temporal thermal gradient over a pyroelectric material in between. The operational frequency as a major factor deciding the power output of the mu TMPG is in turn dependent on the thermal contact resistance (TCR) present at the mating regions of thermal mass, hot and cold sides. Hence, we have investigated the incorporation of an array of Galinstan droplets at the mating interfaces to reduce the TCR. These arrays are fabricated by selective deposition of Galinstan on a laser-micromachined silicon substrate. After incorporating such an array the operational frequency of the mu TMPG increases by at least 50%.