Stellenausschreibung Nr. IMT 35-2023

IMT 35-2023 Bachelor or Master Thesis: Feasibility study of thermal energy harvesting using the Olsen cycle


The year 2023 was the hottest in 125,000 years. Global warming makes research into alternative, CO2-neutral energy generation methods particularly urgent. In order to promote climate-friendly energy supply in many areas of application, a diversification of energy sources is necessary. The use of the abundant thermal energy below 200 °C in the environment holds immense potential, for example for off-grid electronics supply (IoT), or in the supply of medical implants through body heat.

Smart materials exhibit multifunctional properties, notably energy conversion capabilities. Within the Smart Materials and Devices (SMD) research group, we leverage these attributes in the development of new energy harvesting systems. By exploiting the pyroelectric effect, exhibited in ferroelectric materials, thermal energy can be directly converted to electrical energy. While passively exploiting the pyroelectric effect may not result in substantial power output, an improved approach can be achieved by incorporating the so-called Olsen cycle. Temperature and electric field are varied cyclically to convert thermal energy into electrical energy. By doing the Olsen cycle at the Curie temperature of a ferroelectric, substantial power output can be achieved.

The goal of this work is it to gather basic experimental data on the Olsen cycle and to build a Simulink model that enables the simulation of the Olsen cycle. This model is then to be incorporated into our existing Energy Harvester model. Based on the completed model, you will design a demonstrator Energy Harvesting device. With your supervisors help, the demonstrator is to be build and evaluated on our test bench.

Please feel free to contact for any kind of questions or requests. Online or personal discussions very are welcome.

Your Tasks:

  • Thorough literature research
  • Basic experiments on the Olsen cycle
  • Modeling of the Olsen cycle and later incorporation into our Energy Harvester model
  • Designing and experimental evaluation of a demonstration device
  • Assessment of the results
Persönliche Qualifikation
  • Field of Study: Mechanical engineering, Electrical engineering, Mechatronics, Physics, or other related subjects
  • Knowledge of basic ferroelectrics is beneficial
  • Experience in LEM simulation and Simulink is beneficial
  • We are looking for highly motivated and independently working students

Institut für Mikrostrukturtechnik (IMT)


as soon as possible

Contract duration

6 months

Contact person in line-management

For further information, please contact Maxim Wischnewski, phone +49 721 608-24781.


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