Antenna and rectifier designs for miniaturized radio frequency energy scavenging systems
With ample radio transmitters scattered throughout urban landscape, RF energy scavenging emerges as a promising approach to extract energy from propagating radio waves in the ambient environment to continuously charge low power electronics. With the ability of generating power from RF energy, the need for batteries could be eliminated. The effective distance of a RF energy scavenging system is highly dependent on its conversion efficiency. This results in significant limitations on the mobility and space requirement of conventional RF energy scavenging systems as they operate only in presence of physically large antennas and conversion circuits to achieve acceptable efficiency. This thesis presents a number of novel design strategies in the antenna and rectifier designs for miniaturized RF energy scavenging system. In the first stage, different energy scavenging systems including solar energy scavenging system, thermoelectric energy scavenging system, wind energy scavenging system, kinetic energy scavenging system, radio frequency energy scavenging system and hybrid energy scavenging system are investigated with regard to their principle and performance. Compared with the other systems, RF energy scavenging system has its advantages on system size and power density with relatively stable energy source. For a typical RF energy scavenging system, antenna and rectifier (AC-DC convertor) are the two essential components to extract RF energy and convert to usable electricity. As the antenna occupies most of the area in the RF energy scavenging system, reduction in antenna size is necessary in order to design a miniaturized system. Several antennas with different characteristics are proposed in the second stage. Firstly, ultra-wideband microstrip antennas printed on a thin substrate with a thickness of 0.2 mm are designed for both half-wave and full-wave wideband RF energy scavenging. Ambient RF power is distributed over a wide range of frequency bands. A wideband RF energy scavenging system can extract power from different frequencies to maximize the input power, hence, generating sufficient output power for charging devices. Wideband operation with 4 GHz bandwidth is obtained by the proposed microstrip antenna. Secondly, multi-band planar inverted-F antennas with low profile are proposed for frequency bands of GSM 900, DCS 1800 and Wi-Fi 2.4 GHz, which are the three most promising frequency bands for RF energy scavenging. Compared with previous designs, the triple band antenna has smaller dimensions with higher antenna gain. Thirdly, a novel miniature inverted-F antenna without empty space covering Wi-Fi 2.4 GHz frequency band is presented dedicated for indoor RF energy scavenging. The antenna has dimensions of only 10 × 5 × 3.5 mm3 with appreciable efficiency across the operating frequency range. In the final stage, a passive CMOS charge pump rectifier in 0.35 μm CMOS technology is proposed for AC to DC conversion. Bootstrapping capacitors are employed to reduce the effective threshold voltage drop of the selected MOS transistors. Transistor sizes are optimized to be 200/0.5 μm. The proposed rectifier achieves improvements in both power conversion efficiency and voltage conversion efficiency compared with conventional designs. The design strategies proposed in this thesis contribute towards the realization of miniaturized RF energy scavenging systems.