Energy Harvesting

Research Associate, University of Cambridge
Supervisor: Professor Henning Sirringhaus
Dates: 2015 - 2016

My research focused on understanding and applying organic materials in the context of printed and flexible electronics. As part of this I studied organic rectifiers for use in radio frequency identification (RFID) tags.

RFID tags are typically found in identity cards and contactless payment systems, as well as in livestock tracking. This technology is becoming more are more prevalent as a method for manufacturers to make everyday objects more intelligent. Proposed examples of the technology include food packaging capable of warning you if the contents are about to spoil, minimising waste.

Although the silicon chips that are currently found inside RFID tags are themselves cheap to manufacture, the expense of joining the chip to the radio antenna keeps the price per tag relatively high. Printed electronics is seen as a solution to this problem, with additive manufacturing able to undercut the costs associated with silicon. However in order to achieve this we must first understand not only how electrical charge passes through our organic semiconducting materials, but also how to turn them into printable inks, compatible with a manufacturing process. This complex problem sat at the heart of my research.

I worked on the SECURE project (Secure tags Enabled by near field Communications United with Robust Electronics), a collaboration between FlexEnable Ltd, De La Rue, and the University of Cambridge.

This research was funded by InnovateUK, the UK government's innovation agency.