PhD Opportunity: Design for Reliability of a MEMS Cardiac Vibrational Energy Transducer

Note : The PhD opportunities listed below have all been filled. Please check regularly for new opportunities.

The three-year research project “MANpower”, funded by the EU-FP7 Nanosciences, Nanotechnologies, Materials and New Production Technologies (NMP) Programme, is scheduled to start in Autumn 2013. The project, co-ordinated by Tyndall National Institute and involving partners from Belgium, France, Germany and the Netherlands, has the objective of developing a micro-electro-mechanical systems (MEMS) energy harvester for supplying power to implantable cardiac stimulation devices. This novel harvester will collect low frequency mechanical energy from cardiac movement and convert it to electrical energy. The project is also addressing associated topics of energy management and storage, system integration and packaging, and biocompatibility. The Nimbus Centre for Embedded Systems Research at Cork Institute of Technology is leading the MANpower workpackage on reliability and is offering two PhD opportunities in this state-of-the-art microsystems project.

Design for Reliability of a MEMS Cardiac Vibrational Energy Transducer

The low frequency mechanical vibration energy available in the cardiac region means that innovative approaches to design of the MANpower device are required. MANpower will combine research in both new transducer materials and novel MEMS structures to develop a vibration-to-electricity transducer for the energy harvester. The cardiac application means that the transducer must deliver the highest level of reliability and, to achieve this, reliability must be its core design parameter. This PhD project will focus on the “micro-level” and on Design for Reliability (DfR) of the MEMS transducer. It will involve design, simulation and stress testing of reliability test structures for both materials and MEMS, analysis of the test data, and failure analysis of the test structures to identify and characterise the transducer failure mechanisms.

The project will be supervised by Dr. John Barrett, Dr. Martin Hill and Dr. Ger Kelly, each a highly experienced researcher and PhD supervisor.

The expected PhD duration is three years, subject to satisfactory progress and continuation of project funding, with an associated student scholarship of up to €16,000 p.a. and payment of fees (EU fees only: non-EU applicants will be required to self-fund the difference of approximately €5,000 p.a. between EU fees and full economic fees).

Applicants should be qualified to at least Level 8 (Honours four-year Bachelor degree or higher) in microelectronics, materials, physics, mechanical, mechatronics, electronics or related disciplines. Previous project or other experience in topics relevant to the research area will be an advantage. Detailed CVs including all academic qualifications and results, work experience and details of any experience relevant to the research area should be emailed to john.barrett(at)


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