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Miniature Power Sources for High Temperature Industrial Sensors
Keywords: Solid state batteries, Energy storage, Energy harvesting
Introduction: Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) is also often referred to as Industry 4.0 to denote the fourth industrial revolution, that of connected products, machines, services and humans through the cloud. This new age of smart manufacturing requires new ecosystems to facilitate full factory automation and real time monitoring with the aim of increasing productivity, enabling predictive maintenance of machines and infrastructures, and optimising supply chain and assets traceability. Interconnection of machines requires the deployment of multitudes of sensor nodes fitted on products and equipment to continuously acquire data and report to centralised hubs. These sensor nodes will need to be autonomously powered without additional cabling or a constraint to change primary batteries regularly. These devices will also require performing in increasingly hostile conditions, particularly in increasingly high temperatures. These harsh conditions will also impact on the safety performance of the devices, and care needs to be put on selecting robust components such as the power source as, for example, conventional batteries often incorporate temperature-sensitive liquid electrolytes. Solid state batteries are miniature, energy-dense power sources that contain no liquid or polymer electrolytes and are more resistant to temperatures with no associated risk of leakage of toxic materials, or possible gas evolution leading to catastrophic fire. Methods: The development work presented in this paper aimed to identify materials and processing techniques allowing to produce safe, small and thin batteries with high energy density and long life. An additional objective was to design a battery that can be packaged and integrated like the rest of the device’s Integrated Components, i.e. that can be soldered or bumped like a “chip” rather than being a cumbersome add-on. A further goal was to extend the operation of these batteries to higher temperature than commercially available lithium ion batteries, enabling operation within the Industrial, Extended and Automotive ranges up to 150°C. Solid state batteries were developed that consist solely of solid components, i.e. the toxic, life-limiting liquid electrolyte was replaced by a thin ceramic film. These batteries were deposited using Physical Vapour Deposition methods on 6” wafers by evaporation of dense, thin films simultaneously from the elements (for example, cathode LiCoO2 was deposited from Li and Co sources with plasma oxygen) (Beal et al, 2011). The batteries were patterned using laser processing and photolithography and etching techniques to produce thin batteries (< 1 mm) with mm2 footprint and customisable shape. Various encapsulation materials and packaging techniques were evaluated to yield high operating temperatures. These batteries were tested in demonstration wireless sensor devices. Results: Solid state batteries of variable sizes were produced, down to 15 mm2 footprint and <250 um thickness. The energy density of individual cells was measured to be ~ 2.5 uAh/mm2, regardless of size. At room temperature, the batteries yielded up to 900 cycles down to 80% of their initial capacity and could reliably produce peak currents of more than 5 mA, appropriate for wireless communication, sensing and other micro- processing tasks. Continuous operation up to 150°C was demonstrated with at least 200 cycles measured at this temperature. Stacked cells could be contained within a thickness of ~1 mm in order to increase energy sufficiently and power an autonomous wireless demonstration sensor. Conclusion: Novel, optimised packaged solid state batteries were developed that could enable further development of next- generation industrial or automotive sensors needing to be powered autonomously on harsh environment and high temperatures. In this presentation, the audience will be informed about: - A summary of the requirements for MEMS, sensors and sensing devices for Industrial IoT and other wide operating temperature range applications (automotive, aerospace, infrastructure monitoring). - A description of the components in autonomous sensing devices and their requirements. - A review of available energy storage sources (cabling, conventional lithium ion batteries, super caps, solid state batteries). - An understanding of the integration of solid state batteries with energy harvesting in autonomous devices.
Denis Pasero, Product Commercialisation Manager
Ilika Technologies
Chilworth Southampton, Hampshire
United Kingdom


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