Graduation Year

2005

Document Type

Dissertation

Degree

Ph.D.

Degree Granting Department

Electrical Engineering

Major Professor

Dr. K. A. Buckle.

Co-Major Professor

Elias Stefanakos, Ph.D.

Keywords

Solar power, Solar antenna, Solar rectifier, Mim diode, Nrd guide

Abstract

This dissertation presents the rectifying antennas potential for harvesting solar power, along with a novel design for a solar rectenna. The suns general features and the characteristics of solar radiation as an electromagnetic wave are treated in depth in order to determine the deficiencies of traditional rectennas as a solar cell. A closed form equation for a MIM rectifiers efficiency as a function of its input power was developed and verified by a simulated behavioral model and measurements. A unique calculation method was also developed to determine the available solar power at the terminal of a [lambda]/2 dipole antenna as a function of its bandwidth. The available power for each diode at the antennas terminal was found to be insufficient for a MIM diode to operate in its high efficiency region.

It was concluded that the MIM diode requires an array of high gain antennas to increase the solar power captured at its input in order to operate in its high efficiency region. A dielectric rod antenna is proposed as the high gain antenna element for the solar antenna. In order to minimize losses due to the skin effect in the feed system of the array, a non-radiative dielectric (NRD) wave guide is proposed as the feed structure for the solar array antenna. To increase the rectification efficiency of the solar rectenna, two improvements were introduced: 1) the solar antenna was modified to function as a dual polarized antenna; and 2) a novel technique was used to achieve full-wave rectification. Test results of prototypes of the proposed solar antennas and arrays, show them to be potentially far superior to traditional [lambda]/2 dipole antennas for collecting solar radiation.

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