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Printed RFID Humidity Sensor Tags for Flexible Smart Systems
KTH, School of Information and Communication Technology (ICT), Industrial and Medical Electronics. KTH, School of Information and Communication Technology (ICT), Centres, VinnExcellence Center for Intelligence in Paper and Packaging, iPACK.
2015 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

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.
Series
TRITA-ICT-ECS AVH, ISSN 1653-6363 ; 15:03
Keyword [en]
Intelligent packaging, humidity sensor, wireless sensor, chipless RFID, multi-walled carbon nanotube, inkjet printing, LC resonator, paper electronics, flexible electronics.
National Category
Other Electrical Engineering, Electronic Engineering, Information Engineering
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:kth:diva-162152ISBN: 978-91-7595-474-5 (print)OAI: oai:DiVA.org:kth-162152DiVA: diva2:797185
Public defence
2015-04-17, Sal B, Isafjordsgatan 26, Electrum 229, Kista, 10:00 (English)
Opponent
Supervisors
Funder
VINNOVA
Note

QC 20150326

Available from: 2015-03-26 Created: 2015-03-23 Last updated: 2015-03-26Bibliographically approved
List of papers
1. Flexible UHF Resistive Humidity Sensors Based on Carbon Nanotubes
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Flexible UHF Resistive Humidity Sensors Based on Carbon Nanotubes
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2012 (English)In: IEEE Sensors Journal, ISSN 1530-437X, E-ISSN 1558-1748, Vol. 12, no 9, 2844-2850 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

This paper presents the investigation of the resistive humidity-sensing properties of multi-walled carbon nanotubes (MWCNTs). MWCNTs functionalized by acid treatment (f-MWCNTs) exhibit rather high sensitivity in resistance toward humidity, owing to the presence of carboxylic groups on the nanotube surface. By integrating the f-MWCNTs resistor into a wireless sensor platform, flexible humidity sensors for ultra-high frequency applications are investigated. The operating frequency range of the sensor is dramatically increased from 600 MHz to 2 GHz by adjusting the resistor-electrodes' configuration. This enhancement is predominately attributed to the variation in parasitic capacitance between the resistor-electrodes.

Keyword
Carbon nanotube, flexible devices, humidity sensor, wireless sensor
National Category
Other Electrical Engineering, Electronic Engineering, Information Engineering
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:kth:diva-100356 (URN)10.1109/JSEN.2012.2202390 (DOI)000307445300001 ()2-s2.0-84864910575 (Scopus ID)
Projects
the Vinn Excellence Centerthe EU project CLIP
Funder
Swedish Research Council, 2009-8068VINNOVA
Note

QC 20150623

Available from: 2012-08-07 Created: 2012-08-07 Last updated: 2017-12-07Bibliographically approved
2. Low Cost Printed Chipless RFID Humidity Sensor Tag for Intelligent Packaging
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Low Cost Printed Chipless RFID Humidity Sensor Tag for Intelligent Packaging
2015 (English)In: IEEE Sensors Journal, ISSN 1530-437X, E-ISSN 1558-1748, Vol. 15, no 6, 3201-3208 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

This paper presents a fully-printed chipless radio frequency identification sensor tag for short-range item identification and humidity monitoring applications. The tag consists of two planar inductor-capacitor resonators operating wirelessly through inductive coupling. One resonator is used to encode ID data based on frequency spectrum signature, and another one works as a humidity sensor, utilizing a paper substrate as a sensing material. The sensing performances of three paper substrates, including commercial packaging paper, are investigated. The use of paper provides excellent sensitivity and reasonable response time to humidity. The cheap and robust packaging paper, particularly, exhibits the largest sensitivity over the relative humidity range from 20% to 70%, which offers the possibility of directly printing the sensor tag on traditional packages to make the package intelligent at ultralow cost.

Keyword
Humidity sensor, chipless RFID, printed sensor, LC resonator
National Category
Other Electrical Engineering, Electronic Engineering, Information Engineering
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:kth:diva-159642 (URN)10.1109/JSEN.2014.2385154 (DOI)000353149800004 ()2-s2.0-84928266964 (Scopus ID)
Funder
VINNOVA
Note

QC 20150805. Updated from accepted to published.

Available from: 2015-02-05 Created: 2015-02-05 Last updated: 2017-12-05Bibliographically approved
3. Electrical and humidity-sensing characterization of inkjet-printed multi-walled carbon nanotubes for smart packaging
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Electrical and humidity-sensing characterization of inkjet-printed multi-walled carbon nanotubes for smart packaging
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2013 (English)In: IEEE SENSORS 2013 - Proceedings, IEEE , 2013, 1-4 p.Conference paper, Published paper (Refereed)
Abstract [en]

Printing is considered a cost-effective way to fabricate electronics on unconventional substrates enabling, for example, smart packaging. Functionalized multi-walled carbon nanotubes (f-MWCNTs) having carboxylic groups on their surfaces possess great potential as flexible resistive humidity sensor. In this paper, we report on the inkjet printing and characterization of f-MWCNTs in terms of sheet resistance and humidity-sensitivity. Stable f-MWCNTs ink is formulated using aqueous ethylene glycol as solvent. Sheet resistance of printed f-MWCNTs films on polyimide foil reduces by increasing the number of printed layers as well as post-printing annealing temperature. Meanwhile, the raised annealing temperature degrades the films' humidity-sensitivity, which could be explained by the loss of the carboxylic groups. The electrical and sensing properties of f-MWCNTs also have a negative temperature coefficient regarding ambient temperature, which should be considered in practical application.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
IEEE, 2013
National Category
Electrical Engineering, Electronic Engineering, Information Engineering
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:kth:diva-134222 (URN)10.1109/ICSENS.2013.6688306 (DOI)2-s2.0-84893924602 (Scopus ID)978-1-4673-4640-5 (ISBN)
Conference
12th IEEE SENSORS 2013 Conference; Baltimore, MD; United States; 4 November 2013 through 6 November 2013
Projects
iPack Vinnova CenterEuropean FP7 CLIP
Funder
VINNOVA
Note

QC 20140207

Available from: 2013-11-20 Created: 2013-11-20 Last updated: 2016-04-18Bibliographically approved
4. Electrical performance and reliability evaluation of inkjet-printed Ag interconnections on paper substrates
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Electrical performance and reliability evaluation of inkjet-printed Ag interconnections on paper substrates
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2012 (English)In: Materials letters (General ed.), ISSN 0167-577X, E-ISSN 1873-4979, Vol. 88, 68-72 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Printing technology, especially inkjet printing, enables mass manufacturing of electronics on various substrate materials. Paper is one potential carrier for printed electronics to realize low-cost, flexible, recyclable smart packages. However, concerns exist regarding commonly used photo paper substrate, in terms of price and reliability against environmental variation. In this work, for the first time, ordinary low-cost and high-moisture-resistance package paper is investigated as an alternative to be the substrate of printed electronics. The surface morphology and electrical performance of inkjet printed interconnections on six different paper substrates from two categories (inkjet paper and package paper) are examined and compared. The printed interconnections on inkjet papers show smaller sheet resistance and better repeatability than those on package papers. However, low-cost package paper stands higher temperature and exhibits better reliability during 85°C/85 RH aging test. Package paper is suitable for smart package applications that have relaxed requirements of conductivity and high requests of moisture resistance.

Keyword
Inkjet printing, Paper substrate, Electrical resistivity, Nanoparticle silver ink, Reliability, 85 degrees C/85% RH
National Category
Paper, Pulp and Fiber Technology
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:kth:diva-100358 (URN)10.1016/j.matlet.2012.08.030 (DOI)000310423700020 ()2-s2.0-84866605755 (Scopus ID)
Funder
VinnovaICT - The Next Generation
Note

QC 20121115

Available from: 2012-08-07 Created: 2012-08-07 Last updated: 2017-12-07Bibliographically approved
5. Integration of f-MWCNT Sensor and Printed Circuits on Paper Substrate
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Integration of f-MWCNT Sensor and Printed Circuits on Paper Substrate
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2013 (English)In: IEEE Sensors Journal, ISSN 1530-437X, E-ISSN 1558-1748, Vol. 13, no 10, 3948-3956 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

The integration of sensors endows the packages with intelligence and interactivity. This paper is considered the most suitable substrate of smart packages because it is cost-effective, light, flexible, and recyclable. However, common concern exists regarding the reliability of paper-based system against bending and folding. In this paper, inkjet-printing of silver nanoparticles is used to form circuit pattern as well as interconnections for system integration on paper substrate. A humidity sensor made by functionalized multiwalled carbon nanotubes is fabricated on the same substrate. We evaluate the electrical performance of paper electronics and the reliability against bending and folding. The results reveal the capability and the limitation of paper electronics in terms of flexibility. The concept of a paper-based smart electronic system and the manufacture process are demonstrated by an interactive humidity sensor card prototype.

Keyword
Heterogeneous system, paper electronics, inkjet printing, f-MWCNTs-based humidity sensor, smart packages
National Category
Engineering and Technology
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:kth:diva-129608 (URN)10.1109/JSEN.2013.2260534 (DOI)000324253700011 ()2-s2.0-84883819807 (Scopus ID)
Funder
VinnovaEU, FP7, Seventh Framework Programme, 243557 FP7-SME-2008-2
Note

QC 20131004

Available from: 2013-10-04 Created: 2013-10-03 Last updated: 2017-12-06Bibliographically approved
6. Development and experimental verification of analytical models for printable interdigital capacitor sensors on paperboard
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Development and experimental verification of analytical models for printable interdigital capacitor sensors on paperboard
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2009 (English)In: 2009 IEEE Sensors, IEEE Sensors Council, 2009, 1034-1039 p.Conference paper, Published paper (Refereed)
Abstract [en]

Printed interdigital capacitor DWI on paperboard is a promising solution for low-cost sensors in intelligent packaging applications. The currently available analytical models of multi-layered IDCs are targeted to those fabricated by conventional semiconductor process. For this reason, we have adapted two promising models and assessed their accuracies by comparison with experimental data. We modified these models by treating the paper as non-infinite thick substrate and taking the effect of printed metal thickness into account. The models are studied further to reveal the relationship between the response of capacitance change and various geometric parameters which enables a quick way of obtaining the optimum IDC structure design. The modified Gevorgian model fits our experimental data best, and the sensitivity of IDCs is largely affected by its spatial wavelength and the thickness of sensing material layer, while the finger number, length and metallization ratio have minor impact.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
IEEE Sensors Council, 2009
Keyword
Analytical model, Capacitance change, Experimental data, Experimental verification, Geometric parameter, Intelligent packaging, Inter-digital capacitors, Low-cost sensors, Metal thickness, Metallization ratio, Model fit, Multi-layered, Semiconductor process, Sensing material, Spatial wavelengths, Structure design, Thick substrates
National Category
Other Electrical Engineering, Electronic Engineering, Information Engineering
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:kth:diva-29657 (URN)10.1109/ICSENS.2009.5398531 (DOI)000279891700226 ()2-s2.0-77951110876 (Scopus ID)978-1-4244-4548-6 (ISBN)
Conference
IEEE Sensors 2009 Conference - SENSORS 2009; Christchurch; New Zealand; 25 October 2009 through 28 October 2009
Funder
VINNOVA
Note

QC 20110330

Available from: 2011-03-30 Created: 2011-02-11 Last updated: 2016-06-15Bibliographically approved
7. Fabrication and performance evaluation of ultralow-cost inkjet-printed chipless RFID tags
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Fabrication and performance evaluation of ultralow-cost inkjet-printed chipless RFID tags
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2012 (English)Conference paper, Published paper (Refereed)
Abstract [en]

This paper studies the performance of inkjet-printed chipless RFID tags based on planar inductor-capacitor resonant circuits. Besides using double-sided printing, a sandwiching process is introduced to fabricate the tags in order to eliminate the need of through-substrate via and match roll-to-roll processing. Due to lower conductivity (~1.25E+7 S/m) and smaller thickness (~1.7μm) of printed conductors with silver nanoparticle ink, the resonant peaks of inkjet-printed tags exhibit around as twice of half-power bandwidth and 60% of maximum reading distance as the etched tags from bulk copper. Nevertheless, the inkjet-printed tag performance is sufficient for many applications, and it can be adjusted and improved by printing and sintering processes.

National Category
Other Electrical Engineering, Electronic Engineering, Information Engineering
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:kth:diva-99035 (URN)978-3-00-038122-5 (ISBN)
Conference
Proceeding of LOPE-C
Note

QC 20121218

Available from: 2012-07-10 Created: 2012-07-10 Last updated: 2015-03-26Bibliographically approved
8. Design of a Printable Multi-Functional Sensor for Remote Monitoring
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Design of a Printable Multi-Functional Sensor for Remote Monitoring
2011 (English)In: 2011 IEEE SENSORS Proceedings, IEEE Sensors Council, 2011, 675-678 p.Conference paper, Published paper (Refereed)
Abstract [en]

This paper proposes a novel printable multi-functional passive sensor for remote monitoring. The sensor mainly consists of a series of pairs of transmission lines and sensing resistors whose resistances vary with one physical parameter. A short-duration radio-frequency pulse as interrogation signal travels along the transmission line and is partially reflected at each resistor due to impedance mismatch. By measuring the energies of the discrete reflected pulses in time domain, all the physical parameters could be detected simultaneously. This design not only saves complex circuitry but also enables easy adaptation for detecting multiple parameters. We have theoretically analyzed the sensor assuming it has an arbitrary number of sensing resistors. The introduced algorithm between the pulse energies and resistances is verified by simulation. As a prototype, an inkjet-printed sensor on polyimide foil is presented. The experimental measurement has successfully proven the design concept. 

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
IEEE Sensors Council, 2011
Keyword
wireless sensor, inkjet printing, multi-functional sensor
National Category
Electrical Engineering, Electronic Engineering, Information Engineering
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:kth:diva-49458 (URN)000299901200159 ()2-s2.0-84856820949 (Scopus ID)978-1-4244-9289-3 (ISBN)
Conference
IEEE SENSORS 2011 Conference, Limerick, Ireland, 28-31 October
Funder
VINNOVA
Note

QC 20111201

Available from: 2011-11-28 Created: 2011-11-28 Last updated: 2016-04-26Bibliographically approved

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Citation style
  • apa
  • harvard1
  • ieee
  • modern-language-association-8th-edition
  • vancouver
  • Other style
More styles
Language
  • de-DE
  • en-GB
  • en-US
  • fi-FI
  • nn-NO
  • nn-NB
  • sv-SE
  • Other locale
More languages
Output format
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  • text
  • asciidoc
  • rtf