Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

The world's tiniest temperature sensor is powered by radio waves

08.12.2015

Researchers at Eindhoven University of Technology (TU/e) have developed a very tiny wireless temperature sensor that is powered in a very special way: from the radio waves that are part of the sensor's wireless network.

This means that the sensor needs not even a single wire, nor a battery that would have to be replaced. The arrival of such sensors is an important development on route towards smart buildings, for instance. But the applications are many and various.


The tiny temperature sensor is on the finger tip of Ph.D.-student Hao Gao of Eindhoven University of Technology.

Credit: Bart van Overbeeke/Eindhoven University of Technology.

The smart buildings of the future will be full of sensors that will respond to the residents' every need, and will be as sustainable as possible. Like heating and lighting that only switches on when someone is in the room. That's only possible if these sensors are wireless and need no batteries, otherwise in a large building you would have to change the batteries every day.

This is demonstrated by TU/e researcher Hao Gao who will be awarded his PhD on Monday 7 December for his thesis in which he developed a sensor that measures just 2 square millimeters and weights a mere 1.6 milligrams, equivalent to a grain of sand.

The current version of the sensor has a range of 2.5 centimeters; the researchers expect to extend this to a meter within a year, and ultimately to 5 meters. The sensor has a specially developed router, with an antenna that sends radio waves to the sensors to power them. Since this energy transfer is accurately targeted at the sensor, the router consumes very little electricity.

And the sensors themselves are made such that their energy consumption is extremely low. The sensor also operates beneath a layer of paint, plaster or concrete. As Peter Baltus, TU/e professor of wireless technology, explains, this makes the sensor easy to incorporate in buildings, for instance by 'painting' it onto the wall with the latex.

The sensor contains an antenna that captures the energy from the router. The sensor stores that energy and, once there is enough, the sensor switches on, measures the temperature and sends a signal to the router. This signal has a slightly distinctive frequency, depending on the temperature measured. The router can deduce the temperature from this distinctive frequency.

The same technology enables other wireless sensors to be made, for example to measure movement, light and humidity. The application areas are enormous, Baltus says, ranging from payment systems and wireless identification to smart buildings and industrial production systems. They won't be expensive either: mass production will keep the cost of a sensor down to around 20 cents. The sensor is based on 65-nm CMOS technology.

The project, called PREMISS, has received funding from the STW technology foundation. The title of Hao Gao's thesis is 'Fully Integrated Ultra-Low Power mm-Wave Wireless Sensor Design Methods'. The integrated circuits research was done in the Mixed-Signal Microelectronics group and also involved the TU/e groups Electromagnetics and Signal Processing Systems as well as the Center of Wireless Technology.

Media Contact

Peter Baltus
p.g.m.baltus@tue.nl
31-621-891-464

 @TUEindhoven

http://www.tue.nl/en 

Peter Baltus | EurekAlert!

More articles from Information Technology:

nachricht Cloud technology: Dynamic certificates make cloud service providers more secure
15.01.2018 | Technische Universität München

nachricht New discovery could improve brain-like memory and computing
10.01.2018 | University of Minnesota

All articles from Information Technology >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Artificial agent designs quantum experiments

On the way to an intelligent laboratory, physicists from Innsbruck and Vienna present an artificial agent that autonomously designs quantum experiments. In initial experiments, the system has independently (re)discovered experimental techniques that are nowadays standard in modern quantum optical laboratories. This shows how machines could play a more creative role in research in the future.

We carry smartphones in our pockets, the streets are dotted with semi-autonomous cars, but in the research laboratory experiments are still being designed by...

Im Focus: Scientists decipher key principle behind reaction of metalloenzymes

So-called pre-distorted states accelerate photochemical reactions too

What enables electrons to be transferred swiftly, for example during photosynthesis? An interdisciplinary team of researchers has worked out the details of how...

Im Focus: The first precise measurement of a single molecule's effective charge

For the first time, scientists have precisely measured the effective electrical charge of a single molecule in solution. This fundamental insight of an SNSF Professor could also pave the way for future medical diagnostics.

Electrical charge is one of the key properties that allows molecules to interact. Life itself depends on this phenomenon: many biological processes involve...

Im Focus: Paradigm shift in Paris: Encouraging an holistic view of laser machining

At the JEC World Composite Show in Paris in March 2018, the Fraunhofer Institute for Laser Technology ILT will be focusing on the latest trends and innovations in laser machining of composites. Among other things, researchers at the booth shared with the Aachen Center for Integrative Lightweight Production (AZL) will demonstrate how lasers can be used for joining, structuring, cutting and drilling composite materials.

No other industry has attracted as much public attention to composite materials as the automotive industry, which along with the aerospace industry is a driver...

Im Focus: Room-temperature multiferroic thin films and their properties

Scientists at Tokyo Institute of Technology (Tokyo Tech) and Tohoku University have developed high-quality GFO epitaxial films and systematically investigated their ferroelectric and ferromagnetic properties. They also demonstrated the room-temperature magnetocapacitance effects of these GFO thin films.

Multiferroic materials show magnetically driven ferroelectricity. They are attracting increasing attention because of their fascinating properties such as...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

10th International Symposium: “Advanced Battery Power – Kraftwerk Batterie” Münster, 10-11 April 2018

08.01.2018 | Event News

See, understand and experience the work of the future

11.12.2017 | Event News

Innovative strategies to tackle parasitic worms

08.12.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

More genes are active in high-performance maize

19.01.2018 | Life Sciences

How plants see light

19.01.2018 | Life Sciences

Artificial agent designs quantum experiments

19.01.2018 | Physics and Astronomy

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>