Holst Centre Designs Long-Range RF Energy Harvester


Posted on June 20, 2013 @ 02:48 pm



Holst Centre, in collaboration with imec, the Delft University of Technology and the Eindhoven University of Technology, has designed and fabricated a self-calibrating RF energy harvester. The device is capable of harvesting RF energy at lower input power levels than state-of-the-art solutions.

When used in combination with a dedicated or even ambient RF source, the new RF energy harvester has the potential to power small sensor systems. The harvester shows excellent wireless range performance, leading to an increased area that can be covered by the RF source.

Today’s RF harvesters either have poor sensitivity or require calibration, a special technology process or a large chip/antenna area. Compared to existing solutions, the new device consumes a smaller antenna area – favoring applications demanding a small form factor – while operating at a lower frequency. Due to its superior sensitivity and wireless range performance, an increased area can now be covered by the RF source. This makes the device suitable for powering small sensor systems in applications where other energy sources such as light, vibrations or thermal gradients are not available. It also paves the way towards harvesting ambient RF energy, as supplied by e.g. ambient WiFi or GSM signals.

These results have been presented at the 2013 Symposia on VLSI Technology and Circuits.

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