Articles | Volume 13
03 Nov 2015
 | 03 Nov 2015

Improving the range of UHF RFID transponders using solar energy harvesting under low light conditions

A. Ascher, M. Lehner, M. Eberhardt, and E. Biebl

Abstract. The sensitivity of passive UHF RFID transponders (Radio Frequency Identification) is the key issue, which determines the maximum read range of an UHF RFID system. During this work the ability of improving the sensitivity using solar energy harvesting, especially for low light conditions, is shown. To use the additional energy harvested from the examined silicon and organic solar cells, the passive RFID system is changed into a semi-active one. This needs no changes on the reader hardware itself, only the used RFIC (Radio Frequency Integrated Circuit) of the transponder has to possess an additional input pin for an external supply voltage. The silicon and organic cells are evaluated and compared to each other regarding their low light performance. The different cells are examined in a shielded box, which is protected from the environmental lighting. Additionally, a demonstrator is shown, which makes the measurement of the extended read range with respect to the lighting conditions possible. If the cells are completely darkened, the sensitivity gain is ascertained using high capacity super caps. Due to the measurements an enhancement in range up to 70 % could be guaranteed even under low light conditions.