Printed RFID Humidity Sensor Tags for Flexible Smart Systems
2015 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Radio frequency identification (RFID) and sensing are two key technologies enabling the Internet of Things (IoT). Development of RFID tags augmented with sensing capabilities (RFID sensor tags) would allow a variety of new applications, leading to a new paradigm of the IoT. Chipless RFID sensor technology offers a low-cost solution by eliminating the need of an integrated circuit (IC) chip, and is hence highly desired for many applications. On the other hand, printing technologies have revolutionized the world of electronics, enabling cost-effective manufacturing of large-area and flexible electronics. By means of printing technologies, chipless RFID sensor tags could be made flexible and lightweight at a very low cost, lending themselves to the realization of ubiquitous intelligence in the IoT era.
This thesis investigated three construction methods of printable chipless RFID humidity sensor tags, with focus on the incorporation of the sensing function. In the first method, wireless sensing based on backscatter modulation was separately realized by loading an antenna with a humidity-sensing resistor. An RFID sensor tag could then be constructed by combining the wireless sensor with a chipless RFID tag. In the second method, a chipless RFID sensor tag was built up by introducing a delay line between the antenna and the resistor. Based on time-domain reflectometry (TDR), the tag encoded ID in the delay time between its structural-mode and antenna-mode scattering pulse, and performed the sensing function by modulating the amplitude of the antenna-mode pulse.
In both of the above methods, a resistive-type humidity-sensing material was required. Multi-walled carbon nanotubes (MWCNTs) presented themselves as promising candidate due to their outstanding electrical, structural and mechanical properties. MWCNTs functionalized (f-MWCNTs) by acid treatment demonstrated high sensitivity and fast response to relative humidity (RH), owing to the presence of carboxylic acid groups. The f-MWCNTs also exhibited superior mechanical flexibility, as their resistance and sensitivity remained almost stable under either tensile or compressive stress. Moreover, an inkjet printing process was developed for the f-MWCNTs starting from ink formulation to device fabrication. By applying the f-MWCNTs, a flexible humidity sensor based on backscatter modulation was thereby presented. The operating frequency range of the sensor was significantly enhanced by adjusting the parasitic capacitance in the f-MWCNTs resistor. A fully-printed time-coded chipless RFID humidity sensor tag was also demonstrated. In addition, a multi-parameter sensor based on TDR was proposed.The sensor concept was verified by theoretical analysis and circuit simulation.
In the third method, frequency-spectrum signature was utilized considering its advantages such as coding capacity, miniaturization, and immunity to noise. As signal collision problem is inherently challenging in chipless RFID sensor systems, short-range identification and sensing applications are believed to embody the core values of the chipless RFID sensor technology. Therefore a chipless RFID humidity sensor tag based on near-field inductive coupling was proposed. The tag was composed of two planar inductor-capacitor (LC) resonators, one for identification, and the other one for sensing. Moreover, paper was proposed to serve as humidity-sensing substrate for the sensor resonator on accounts of its porous and absorptive features.
Both inkjet paper and ordinary packaging paper were studied. A commercial UV-coated packaging paper was proven to be a viable and more robust alternative to expensive inkjet paper as substrate for inkjet-printed metal conductors. The LC resonators printed on paper substrates showed excellent sensitivity and reasonable response time to humidity in terms of resonant frequency. Particularly, the resonator printed on the UV-coated packaging paper exhibited the largest sensitivity from 20% to 70% RH, demonstrating the possibilities of directly printing the sensor tag on traditional packages to realize intelligent packaging at an ultra-low cost.
Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Stockholm: KTH Royal Institute of Technology, 2015. , xviii, 81 p.
TRITA-ICT-ECS AVH, ISSN 1653-6363 ; 15:03
Intelligent packaging, humidity sensor, wireless sensor, chipless RFID, multi-walled carbon nanotube, inkjet printing, LC resonator, paper electronics, flexible electronics.
Other Electrical Engineering, Electronic Engineering, Information Engineering
IdentifiersURN: urn:nbn:se:kth:diva-162152ISBN: 978-91-7595-474-5OAI: oai:DiVA.org:kth-162152DiVA: diva2:797185
2015-04-17, Sal B, Isafjordsgatan 26, Electrum 229, Kista, 10:00 (English)
Lupo, Donald, Professor
Zapka, Werner, Adjunct ProfessorZheng, Li-Rong, ProfessorChen, Qiang, Doctor
QC 201503262015-03-262015-03-232015-03-26Bibliographically approved
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