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A Passive Radio-Frequency pH-Sensing Tag for Wireless Food-Quality Monitoring

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6 Author(s)
Wen-Ding Huang ; Dept. of Electr. Eng., Univ. of Texas, Arlington, TX, USA ; Deb, S. ; Young-Sik Seo ; Rao, S.
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We present a new method, suitable for food quality management by wirelessly monitoring pH level changes in food with a flexible pH sensor embedded in a batteryless radio-frequency (RF) transponder. The wireless sensor tag includes a flexible pH sensor based on miniature iridium oxide (IrOx) and silver chloride (AgCl) sensing electrodes integrated on a deformable substrate, and batteryless wireless communication circuitry. The sensor tag and reader system is designed to achieve convenient, long-term, and on-demand wireless in situ monitoring of food quality, especially for large-quantity applications and continuous monitoring from place of production to retail stores. Low-cost IrOx sol-gel fabrication process was applied on polymeric substrates to form the flexible sensing films, and a sensitivity of -49.7 mV/pH was achieved. Inducting coupling provides electromagnetic energy from the reader to drive the transponder circuits that retransmit the sensor-data modulated signals back to the reader. The electrochemical potential created by the IrOx/AgCl sensing electrodes is converted to a modulated frequency and the system achieves a sensitivity of 633 Hz/pH. The wireless pH sensing system was tested for in situ monitoring of the spoilage processes in fish meats continuously for over 18 h. The feasibility of wirelessly monitoring pH values in fish meats that could be used to identify spoilage remotely has been demonstrated.

Published in:

Sensors Journal, IEEE  (Volume:12 ,  Issue: 3 )