Remotely powered and searchable sensors

Published : 8 February 2020

The need for sensors that can be remotely interrogated makes it possible to envisage new applications both in aeronautics (aircraft wing monitoring, turbine blades), energy (measurements on rotating devices), civil engineering (structural monitoring) consumer applications such as screens, health (medical patch) and also in the fields of security and defense. For these sectors, we can emphasize the interest of this type of remotely powered and searchable sensors, in all situations where a sensor must be placed in an inaccessible location, where the sensor can be buried, in harsch environment for electronics or batteries (high temperature, explosive atmosphere, etc …), where it can not be electrically connected to the outside (rotating machine, cramped space, etc …).

The “M&NEMS” sensor technology developed by CEA-LETI can meet this need for extreme miniaturization, ultra-low consumption, high performance and low cost. In addition, CEA-LETI is also working on passive sensors with electromagnetic transduction integrating a miniature antenna, sensors that have a very strong interest to be read remotely by an interrogating antenna. This type of sensor coupled to an antenna without an electronic circuit can also enable an increase of the interrogation distance between the reader and the remote-powered sensor, compared to RFID tags that require energy to wake up the circuit. The challenge is to couple and integrate these silicon sensors with an antenna architecture (co-design).

The work will consist of designing and manufacturing antenna-sensor systems by jointly studying each of the two components in order to optimize the coupling in remote power and remote transmission. This will require close interaction between the sensor design and the antenna. Several types of sensors operating in static mode or in resonant mode can be studied. To carry out this multidisciplinary work, the PhD student will rely on the expertise and resources of several CEA-LETI laboratories: the Sensors Laboratory (LCMC), the Tests and Reliability Laboratory (LCFC) of the Silicon Components Department and also on the Antenna, Propagation and Inductive Coupling Laboratory (LAPCI) of the Systems Department as well as on a technological platform for the sensor manufacturing. It will be able to collaborate with other PhD students involved in this theme, especially for the design part of the adapted antenna

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