Linearization of CMOS Hot-Electron Injectors for Self-Powered Monitoring of Biomechanical Strain Variations

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In our previous work we demonstrated that by eliminating regulation and rectification modules from the energy harvesting pathway, the minimum activation power of a piezoelectricity-driven hot-electron injector (p-HEI) can be reduced down to a few nanowatts. As a result the p-HEI device could be used for self-powered, in-vivo recording of biomechanical strain variations. However, for large magnitudes of input strain energy, the response of the modified p-HEI sensor was found to be quasi-linear with respect to the number of loading cycles, which made the calibration of the sensor difficult across a wide variety of biomedical applications. In this paper we propose a compensation circuit that is able to linearize the response of the p-HEI injector over a wide range of input power while maintaining a low activation threshold. The compensation circuit uses a combination of a storage capacitor and a non-linear resistor which produces a compressive input-output response required for linearization. Using prototypes fabricated in a 0.5-μm bulk CMOS process we validate the functionality of the injector and demonstrate that it can achieve a linear injection response for input power ranging from 5 nW to 1.5 μW.

Original languageEnglish
Article number7742947
Pages (from-to)446-454
Number of pages9
JournalIEEE Transactions on Biomedical Circuits and Systems
Issue number2
StatePublished - Apr 2017


  • Biomechanics
  • Health and usage monitoring
  • Hot-electron injection
  • Piezo-floating-gate
  • Self-powered sensors
  • Signal compression


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