Feasibility Study of an Innovative Technique for Remote Powering

Nano-scale RFID using micro-fluidic antenna docking

**** Master Project ****



Dr. Catherine Dehollain,  office ELB 231, Tel. 021 693 69 71

Prof. Juergen Brugger,  Building BM, Tel: 021 693 65 73

Dr. MER Sandro Carrara,  office INF 338, Tel 021 693 09 15


RFID circuits hold great promise for providing identification, sensing and location information at a nano-scale.  However current RFID circuits rely on remote-powering from an external reader which needs a fairly large receive antenna for efficient gathering of RF energy [1].  A possible solution is to temporarily “dock” the RFID tag to a shared antenna.  We propose a micro-fluidic channel to allow the RFID chips to pass by the antenna and each take a turn temporarily docking to receive power and transfer data.  Antenna size is closely related to the chosen RF frequency and hence is an important degree of freedom for the remote powering design, however the use of standard UHF RFID readers and antennae will facilitate prototyping.

This project will allow you to work with three laboratories (RFIC group, LMSI1, LSI1) to explore solutions to this problem. Simulation and prototyping techniques will be used to explore feasibility in terms of power harvesting efficiency and reliability.

It can be noticed that the RFIC group of EPFL has a large experience on remotely powered RFID tags and sensors since 10 years thanks to two PhD thesis (J.P. Curty in 2005, N. Pillin in 2010) on this topic as well as on going Swiss National Funding projects, European projects and PhD theses. For more information, go to http://rfic.epfl.ch and look to references [2, 3].

Main domains of investigation:
•    Micro-fluidics
•    Electromagnetics, remote powering, antenna, discrete components electronics
•    RFID applications and protocols

[1] Peter Burke & Christopher Rutherglen, “Towards a single-chip, implantable RFID system: is a single-cell radio possible?”, Biomedical Microdevices, Springer, January 2009.

[2] J.P. Curty, N. Joehl, C. Dehollain and M. Declercq, “Remotely Powered Addressable UHF RFID Integrated System “, IEEE Journal of Solid-State Circuits, Vol. 40, n° 11, Nov. 2005, pp. 2193-2202.

[3] N. Pillin, N. Joehl, C. Dehollain and M. Declercq “High Data Rate RFID Tag / Reader Architecture using Wireless Voltage Regulation”, IEEE TCAS1 Journal, Vol. 57, n° 3, March 2010, pp. 714-724.