Introduction to PowerMEMS

  • Alan H. Epstein
Part of the MEMS Reference Shelf book series (MEMSRS)


The term “PowerMEMS” was first suggested by Epstein and Senturia [1] in 1996 to describe microsystems which generated power or pumped heat. Their primary interest was micro-electro-mechanical systems (MEMS) heat engines, specifically Brayton cycles (such as gas turbines) and subsystems thereof. The promise identified was microsystems whose power densities equaled or exceeded those of the more familiar large-scale devices. Since that time, the PowerMEMS system has evolved into a broader concept which includes other conventional thermodynamic cycles, new heat engine concepts which may only be attractive at microscale, energy harvesting schemes, and micro-fuel cells – all based on MEMS approaches.


Energy Density Fuel Cell Heat Engine Direct Methanol Fuel Cell Power Converter 


  1. 1.
    Epstein, A.H., and Senturia, S.D., 1997, “Macro Power from Micro Machinery”, Science, 276, p. 1211CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  • Alan H. Epstein
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Aeronautics and AstronauticsMassachusetts Institute of TechnologyCambridgeUSA

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