Date of Graduation


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy in Engineering (PhD)

Degree Level



Electrical Engineering


Jing Yang

Committee Member

Jingxian Wu

Second Committee Member

Roy A. Mccann

Third Committee Member

Jia Di


Applied sciences, Energy harvesting, Optimization and scheduling, Wireless sensor networks


Sensor networks equipped with energy harvesting (EH) devices have attracted great attentions recently. Compared with conventional sensor networks powered by batteries, the energy harvesting abilities of the sensor nodes make sustainable and environment-friendly sensor networks possible. However, the random, scarce and non-uniform energy supply features also necessitate a completely different approach to energy management.

A typical EH wireless sensor node consists of an EH module that converts ambient energy to electrical energy, which is stored in a rechargeable battery, and will be used to power the sensing and transmission operations of the sensor. Therefore, both sensing and transmission are subject to the stochastic energy constraint imposed by the EH process. In this dissertation, we investigate optimal sensing and transmission policies for EH sensor networks under such constraints.

For EH sensing, our objective is to understand how the temporal and spatial variabilities of the EH processes would affect the sensing performance of the network, and how sensor nodes should coordinate their data collection procedures with each other to cope with the random and non-uniform energy supply and provide reliable sensing performance with analytically provable guarantees. Specifically, we investigate optimal sensing policies for a single sensor node with infinite and finite battery sizes in Chapter 2, status updating/transmission strategy of an EH Source in Chapter 3, and a collaborative sensing policy for a multi-node EH sensor network in Chapter 4.

For EH communication, our objective is to evaluate the impacts of stochastic variability of the EH process and practical battery usage constraint on the EH systems, and develop optimal transmission policies by taking such impacts into consideration. Specifically, we consider throughput optimization in an EH system under battery usage constraint in Chapter 5.