Date of Graduation

5-2016

Document Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Bachelor of Science in Electrical Engineering

Degree Level

Undergraduate

Department

Electrical Engineering

Advisor

Saunders, Robert

Reader

Wu, Jingxian

Abstract

Significant advancements in technology and the use of low power sensors in both commercial and industrial applications have made it essential to develop wireless solutions for low power devices. Once such solution, which has generated attention in university and R&D environments, is radio frequency (RF) energy harvesting. RF energy harvesting seeks to capture ambient RF energy by means of an antenna and convert this energy to useable DC power. The presence of ambient RF energy in the environment is a result of numerous high-frequency technologies including Wi-Fi, cell phones, microwave ovens, and radio broadcasting, as well as many others. The intention of this thesis is to design the processing circuitry necessary to convert a received RF signal into useable DC power, with the ability to charge a Lithium-Ion battery. The design presented here was performed to process an RF energy signal received from an antenna that targets both the 2.4GHz and 5GHz Wi-Fi bands. The final design consists of two bandpass filters (one for each Wi-FI band) two two-stage voltage doubler circuits (one for each Wi-Fi band), and a boost converter that is designed to achieve an output voltage of 3.2V in order to charge a Lithium-Ion battery. Testing of the RF energy harvester in an environment with ambient 2.4GHz Wi-Fi signals and a 470μF capacitor connected at the output demonstrates the circuit’s ability to harvest a measureable amount of energy. While the maximum measured voltage of 50mV does not meet the design specification of 3.2V, the circuit demonstrates proof-of-concept. Additional design improvements are necessary to make it a viable solution for charging a battery.

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