RFID multiantenna systems for wireless communications and sensing
ColaboratorJofre Roca, Lluís; B. 18230-2013; Universitat Politècnica de Catalunya. Departament de Teoria del Senyal i Comunicacions
Document typeDoctoral thesis
PublisherUniversitat Politècnica de Catalunya
Rights accessOpen Access
Many scientific, industrial and medical applications require the measurement of different physical parameters in order to collect information about the spatially distributed status of some process. Very often this information needs to be collected remotely, either due to the spatial dispersion of the measurement points or due to their inaccessibility. A wireless embedded self-powered sensor may be a convenient solution to be placed at these inaccessible locations. This thesis is devoted to study the analytical relation governing the electromagnetic coupling between a reader and a embeddable self-powered sensor, based on radio frequency identification (RFID) technology, which is capable of wirelessly retrieving the status of physical parameters at a remote and inaccessible location. The physical parameter to be sensed may be the electromagnetic (EM) field existing at that location (primary measurement) or the indirect measurement of other parameters such as the temperature, humidity, etc. (secondary measurement). Given the simplicity of the RFID solution (highly embeddable properties, scavenging capabilities, penetration and radio coverage characteristics, etc.) the measurement can be done at a single location, or it can be extended to a set of measuring locations (an array or grid of sensors). The analytical relation is based on a reciprocity formulation studying the modulation of the scattered field by the embedded sensor in relation with the incident field, and allows to define a set of quality parameters of interest for the optimum design of the sensors. Particular attention is given to the scavenging circuitry as well as to the antenna design relevant to the sensing objective. In RFID tags, the existence of an RF harvesting section is an improvement with respect to conventional scattering field probes since it removes the need of DC biasing lines or optical fibers to modulate the sensor. However, this harvesting section introduces non-linearities in the response of the sensor, which requires a proper correction to use them as EM-field probes, although the characterization of the non-linearities of the RFID tag cannot be directly done using a conventional vector network analyzer (VNA), due to the requirements of an RFID protocol excitation. Due to this, this thesis proposes an alternative measurement approach that allows to characterize the different scattering states used for the modulation, in particular its non-linear behavior. In addittion, and taking this characterization as the starting point, this thesis proposes a new measurement setup for EM-field measurements based on the use of multiple tones to enlarge the available dynamic range, which is experimentally demonstrated in the measurement of a radiation pattern, as well as in imaging applications. The RFID-based sensor response is electromagnetically sensitive to the dielectric properties of its close environment. However, the governing formulation for the response of the probe mixes together a set of different contributions, the path-loss, the antenna impedance, the loads impedance, etc. As a consequence, it is not possible to isolate each contribution from the others using the information available with a conventional RFID sensor. This thesis mathematically proposes and experimentally develops a modification of the modulation scheme to introduce a new set of multi-load scattering states that increases the information available in the response and properly isolate each term. Moreover, this thesis goes a step forward and introduces a new scattering state of the probe sensitive to temperature variations that do not depend on the environment characteristics. This new configuration enables robust environmental sensing in addition to EM-field measurements, and sensing variations of the dielectric properties of the environment.
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