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Low-Power Far-Field Wireless Powering for Wireless Sensors

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4 Author(s)
Popovic, Z. ; Dept. of Electr., Comput. & Energy Eng., Univ. of Colorado at Boulder, Boulder, CO, USA ; Falkenstein, E.A. ; Costinett, D. ; Zane, R.

This paper discusses far-field wireless powering for low-power wireless sensors, with applications to sensing in environments where it is difficult or impossible to change batteries and where the exact position of the sensors might not be known. With expected radio-frequency (RF) power densities in the 20-200- μW/cm2 range, and desired small sensor overall size, low-power nondirective wireless powering is appropriate for sensors that transmit data at low duty cycles. The sensor platform is powered through an antenna which receives incident electromagnetic waves in the gigahertz frequency range, couples the energy to a rectifier circuit which charges a storage device (e.g., thin-film battery) through an efficient power management circuit, and the entire platform, including sensors and a low-power wireless transmitter, and is controlled through a low-power microcontroller. For low incident power density levels, codesign of the RF powering and the power management circuits is required for optimal performance. Results for hybrid and monolithic implementations of the power management circuitry are presented with integrated antenna rectifiers operating in the 1.96-GHz cellular and in 2.4-GHz industrial-scientific-medical (ISM) bands.

Published in:

Proceedings of the IEEE  (Volume:101 ,  Issue: 6 )