Bigger isn’t always better, so we’re pushing the boundaries of solar energy to power small devices, like medical implants and IoT sensors, with a sustainable source of energy.

VIP ChallENG research goals

This project aims to design and create millimetre-sized solar energy harvesting devices that can provide continuous power for medical implants and IoT sensors.

Our research includes:

  • Design and prototype small silicon photovoltaic devices capable of charging a small lithium ion battery and be integrated on an integrated circuit for ultra-miniaturisation
  • Design and prototype mini solid state lithium ion batteries with a high energy density that can either be directly fabricated onto a silicon wafer or easily integrated on.
  • Demonstrate and prototype mini-solar harvesting power systems integrated with low-power electrical circuits (e.g. for implants or IoT sensors)  
  • Design solar energy harvesting devices for particular operating environments (e.g. under the skin, in the field) 
  • Develop computational models of hybrid devices 
  • Assess the durability of solar energy harvesting devices in diverse environments 
  • Identify new device designs, sensor distribution methods and applications
ChallENG Area

Vertically Integrated Projects

Research Areas
  • Silicon photovoltaics 
  • Thin-film miniature batteries 
  • Low-power circuits and wireless transmitters 
  • Biomedical implant design 
  • Low power IoT systems 
  • Electrical circuit design
  • Device encapsulation

United Nations Sustainable Development Goals

  • Ensure access to affordable and sustainable energy (SDG 7
  • Build resilient infrastructure and foster innovation (SDG 9)

2021 VIP Consortium Innovation Competition - 1st Place WINNER

Mini Solar - Fire Detection Team

The Mini Solar VIP Team is developing devices that provide fast, accurate information to the surrounding community and to authorities when bushfires break out.  The devices include a dedicated miniature solar panel that converts sunlight into energy, an integrated miniature battery, and communications technology which creates a 24/7 monitoring and communications network. The team was established in 2020 in response to the devastating bushfire season in Australia.


✔ 6 UoC per course 


Professional Development

•    Teamwork
•    Leadership
•    Design
•    Communication
•    Integrity
•    Innovation and excellence
•    Diversity
•    Respect
•    Resilience

  • Electrical Engineering & Telecommunications
  • Photovoltaic & Renewable Energy  
  • Chemical Engineering 
  • Physics 
  • Chemistry
  • Medicine  
  • Computer Science & Engineering
  • Biomedical Engineering

Explore the Mini Solar sub-teams

Below are the various aspects of Mini Solar you can choose to explore.

  • This team will design and fabricate small silicon solar cells that can be used in Mini Solar devices. In 2022, we will investigate two new approaches that can enable Mini Solar devices of different mm to cm dimensions.

    Team Leads: Prof. A. LennonDr I. Perez Wurfl

  • This team will design and construct PCB prototypes incorporating the PV device, minibattery and low power wireless (LPW). In 2022, we will build off the core LPW technology that we developed in 2021.

    Team Lead: Dr I. Perez Wurfl

  • This team will investigate new approaches for the fabrication of thin film solid state mini-batteries to be incorporated into Mini Solar device.

    Team Lead: A/Prof. N. Sharma

  • This team will investigate the optical, encapsulation and implantation requirements for subdermal solar cells and conduct preliminary experiment to establish the viability of subdermal biochemical sensing (e.g. of glucose for 24/7 blood sugar monitoring for diabetes).

    Team Lead: Dr. D. Tsai

Team Academic Leads

Dr. Ivan Perez-Wurfl

Senior Lecturer - Photovoltaic and Renewable Energy Engineering

+61 2 9385 6056

A/Prof. Neeraj Sharma

School of Chemistry

Dr. David Tsai

Biomedial Engineering

+61 2 9385 6056