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18 April 2011 Energy harvesting of radio frequency and vibration energy to enable wireless sensor monitoring of civil infrastructure
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To power distributed wireless sensor networks on bridges, traditional power cables or battery replacement are excessively expensive or infeasible. This project develops two power harvesting technologies. First, a novel parametric frequency-increased generator (PFIG) is developed. The fabricated PFIG harvests the non-periodic and unprecedentedly low frequency (DC to 30 Hz) and low acceleration (0.55-9.8 m/s2) mechanical energy available on bridges with an average power > 2 μW. Prototype power conversion and storage electronics were designed and the harvester system was used to charge a capacitor from arbitrary bridge-like vibrations. Second, an RF scavenger operating at medium and shortwave frequencies has been designed and tested. Power scavenging at MHz frequencies allows for lower antenna directivities, reducing sensitivity to antenna positioning. Furthermore, ambient RF signals at these frequencies have higher power levels away from cities and residential areas compared to the UHF and SHF bands utilized for cellular communication systems. An RF power scavenger operating at 1 MHz along with power management and storage circuitry has been demonstrated. It powers a LED at a distance of 10 km from AM radio stations.
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Tzeno Galchev, James McCullagh, Rebecca L. Peterson, Khalil Najafi, and Amir Mortazawi "Energy harvesting of radio frequency and vibration energy to enable wireless sensor monitoring of civil infrastructure", Proc. SPIE 7983, Nondestructive Characterization for Composite Materials, Aerospace Engineering, Civil Infrastructure, and Homeland Security 2011, 798314 (18 April 2011);

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