EPSRC CDT in Metamaterials: Broadband acoustic energy harvesting using acoustic metamaterials

University of Exeter - Departments of Physics and Astronomy, and Department of Engineering

The studentship is part of the EPSRC Centre of Doctoral Training in Metamaterials (XM2), www.exeter.ac.uk/metamaterials. Our aim is to undertake world-leading research, while training scientists and engineers with the relevant research skills and knowledge, and professional attributes for industry and academia.

Joint supervisors: Dr Dibin ZhuProf Alastair P Hibbins

This multidisciplinary project exploits applications of acoustic metamaterials, i.e. to generate electrical energy from ambient noise with the aid of metamaterials. It fits the XM2 theme of acoustic and fluid-dynamical metamaterials. The project aims to:

  1. Develop acoustic metamaterials that can manipulate broadband acoustic waves.
  2. Design kinetic energy harvesters to convert acoustic wave into electrical energy.

Direct conversion of ambient noise into electrical energy is inefficient because of the propagation nature of acoustic wave. Metamaterials can manipulate acoustic wave to concentrate at designated locations or induce local resonance. A kinetic energy harvester placed in the optimised location can thus generate significantly more electrical energy. Existing research only focus on single tone inputs [1][2]. This project will pioneer methods to harvest energy from broadband (multi-tone) acoustic waves, e.g. using the metamaterial to separate different tones or adopting broadband energy harvesters.

The project is built upon the internal collaboration between Metamaterial Group in Physics and Energy Harvesting Group in Engineering. Joint expertise between the teams ensures the student is sufficiently supported. The student will be trained and inspired by world-leading experts in the CDT and both research groups via direct supervision, group seminars and discussions.

The team will work closely with existing industrial links for advice on specific application scenarios. The success of this project will lead to future research projects or even commercialisation opportunities.

4-year studentship: for UK/EU students, the studentship includes tuition fees and an annual stipend equivalent to current Research Council rates; for international students (non-EU) a very small number of fees only studentships may be available

[1] B Assouar, M Oudich and X Zhou, Proc. SPIE, doi:10.1117/12.2080752(2015)
[2] S Qi, M Oudich, Y Li et al, Appl. Phys. Lett. 108, 263501 doi:10.1063/1.4954987(2016)

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