Graduation Year

2011

Document Type

Thesis

Degree

M.S.E.E.

Degree Granting Department

Electrical Engineering

Major Professor

Thomas Weller

Keywords

conversion efficiency, diode doubler, frequency doubling reflectenna, lock-in amplifier, sensor network

Abstract

This thesis presented the research, design and fabrication associated with a unique application of rectenna technology combined with lock-in amplification. An extremely low-power harmonic transponder is conjoined with an interrogator base-station, and utilizing coherent demodulation the Remote Lock-In Amplifier (RLIA) concept is realized. Utilizing harmonic re-radiation with very low-power input, the 1st generation transponder detects a transmitted interrogation signal and responds by retransmitting the second harmonic of the signal. The 1st generation transponder performs this task while using no additional power besides that which accompanies the wireless signal. Demonstration of the first complete configuration provided proof of concept for the RLIA and feasibility of processing relevant information under "zero" power operating conditions with a remote transponder.

Design and fabrication of a new transponder where the existing zero-bias transponder was modified to include a DC bias to the diode-based frequency doubler is presented. Applied bias voltage directly changed the impedance match between the receiving 1.3 GHz antenna and the diode causing a change in conversion loss. Testing demonstrated that a change in conversion loss induces an amplitude modulation on the retransmission of the signal from the transponder. A test of bias sweep at the optimal operating frequency was performed on the 2nd generation transponder and it was seen that a change of ~ 0.1 V in either a positive or negative bias configuration induced an approximate 15 dB change in transponder output power.

A diode-integrated radar detector is designed to sense microwaves occurring at a certain frequency within its local environment and transform the microwave energy to a DC voltage proportional the strength of the signal impinging on its receiving antenna. The output of the radar detector could then be redirected to the bias input of the 2nd generation transponder, where this DC voltage input would cause a change in conversion loss and modulate the retransmitted interrogation signal from the transponder to the base station. When the base station receives the modulated interrogation signal the information sensed by the radar detector is extracted. Simulations and testing results of the fabricated radar detector demonstrate capability of sensing a signal of approximately -53.3 dBm, and accordingly producing a rectified DC voltage output of 0.05 mV. A comparison is made between these findings and the transponder measurements to demonstrate feasibility of pairing the radar detector and the 2nd generation transponder together at the remote sensor node to perform modulation of interrogation signals.

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