Solar energy harvester IC that operates with indoor lighting
Saelig Company, Inc. (www.saelig.com) has introduced the patented Sol Chip Saturn802 Energy Harvester IC – a unique photovoltaic (PV) cell which can produce output voltage levels of 0.75V, 1.5V, 2.25V, 3.0V, 4.5V, and 9V, which existing solar cells cannot do. The maximum power which can be obtained in full daylight is around 10mW, or 55uW in office lighting, so the Saturn802 IC is targeted at low-power applications. The size of the die is approximately 1cm by 1cm, and the stable voltage levels are available from separate pins of the device. The IC can be used with or without a back-up battery.
Sol Chip’s unique technology integrates solar energy conversion principles with very large scale integration (VLSI) techniques to produce a unique ambient light harvesting device that combines photovoltaic layer and microchip circuitry in layers on the same substrate. Although solar cells have been around for a long time, with microchips being the mainstay of electronic devices, no company in the semiconductor industry has successfully integrated solar cells with standard chip manufacturing processes in a cost effective way.
The Sol Chip Energy Harvester allows designers to build low-powered products that can recharge themselves. All that is needed is a small window in the product design or a transparent cover to allow light to reach the surface-mounted Saturn802 chip. This eliminates the need for a battery in low power products, thus removing maintenance and environmental waste issues. Incorporating the Sol Chip Energy Harvester in product designs is ideal for hard-to-reach locations where battery use and routine replacement is inconvenient or prohibitively expensive.
Applications suited to the Saturn802 include wireless sensor networks, drip-irrigation systems, wearable electronics, smart city solutions like parking or security and utility meters, data loggers, shelf labeling, GPS emergency locators, animal tracking devices, GPS asset/container tracking, autonomous environmental and pollution measurement devices, and RFID devices. Saturn802 designs can operate continuously for more than ten years with no maintenance requirements. In wireless products this also eliminates the significant costs and time associated with wiring connections for the deployed sensors, reducing system cost of ownership.
Forming an “everlasting battery”, the Saturn802 solar cells are available on an evaluation board, the Eval-802, allowing users to develop their own power regulation circuitry for handling differing light and load conditions. For a ready-made solar solution using the Saturn802 cell, the SCP-2801 board provides all necessary circuitry to provide constant 24/7 output.