Skip to Main Content
Surface acoustic wave (SAW) radio transponders make it possible to read identification codes or measurement values from a remote location. The decisive advantage of these SAW transponders lies in their passive operation (i.e., no power-supply), and in the possibility of wireless installation at particularly inaccessible locations. The passive SAW transponders are maintenance free. Identification marks respond to an interrogation signal with their nonchanging identification pattern. In wireless SAW sensors the physical or chemical properties to be detected change the propagation characteristics of the SAW. SAW radio transponders are advantageously placed on moving or rotating parts and in hazardous environments such as contaminated or high voltage areas. They also can be used for contactless measurements in high vacuum process chambers, under concrete, extreme heat, or strong radioactive radiation, where the use of conventional sensors is complicated, dangerous, or expensive. In this paper we discuss the principles of wireless passive SAW transponders and present a radio frequency interrogation unit and several passive radio SAW sensors developed for noncontact measurements of temperatures, pressures, torques, and currents.