Development of a low-power, battery-less near field communication sensor transponder for wireless sensing applications

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Date
2022-12-12
Authors
Gawade, Dinesh R.
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University College Cork
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Abstract
Cultural heritage objects and artefacts are precious objects owned by museums and archives, which are generally old and fragile. Often, such objects are stored in climatically uncontrolled storage areas, particularly inside sealed archive boxes and storage crates. Such storage practices can lead to significant degradation of valuable artefacts. Implementing air conditioning and heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) systems constitutes a highly technical conservation challenge that often cannot be financially justified, especially for small and medium-sized museums. Commercially available environmental sensors, such as hygrometers and wireless data loggers are known for monitoring microenvironments in museums. However, these devices are unsuitable for integration within museum storage boxes because these sensors are either too large or expensive. For example, the Testo series 160TH data logger can be used for monitoring temperature and humidity in museum environments but the cost is significant at approximately €245. Another critical disadvantage associated with monitoring the inside microenvironments of an archive box using a hygrometer is the necessity to open the box for the analysis. A key disadvantage of existing methods is the interference caused to the internal microclimate. This thesis presents the development of both short-range and long-range wireless sensor platforms that monitor the microclimatic environment inside museum artefact storage boxes. The short-range wireless communication platform focuses on developing a battery-less near-field communication (NFC) sensor transponder with a wireless communication range of several centimetres. On the other hand, the long-range communication platform development involves the selection and implementation of optimum wireless communication technology to yield a wireless communications range of 100 metres to several kilometres and which is scalable according to the large number of artefacts that may need to be monitored. In the first contribution, for the first time, a smart museum archive box that features fully integrated wirelessly powered temperature and humidity sensing capabilities is developed and demonstrated. The developed NFC sensor transponder has been optimized for low power operation using voltage and frequency scaling techniques with a measured peak DC power consumption of 597 μW while yielding a 5 cm wireless communication range. The achieved power consumption is 33.6 % lower in comparison with the current state-of-the-art in this area. In addition, the developed battery-less NFC sensor transponder can wirelessly measure temperature and relative humidity with a mean error of ± 0.37 ◦C and ± 2 %, respectively, over a maximum distance of 5 cm. In addition, a battery-less NFC humidity sensor prototype is developed and demonstrated using laser-induced graphene (LIG) electrodes and a graphene oxide (GO)-based humidity sensor. Furthermore, the feasibility of enhancing the wireless communication range of the NFC sensor transponder is explored. This is achieved by powering the transponder electronics using energy harvested from a vibrational energy harvester. A maximum wireless communication range of 11 cm is achieved in free space, which is 120 % beyond the state-of-the-art reported in the literature. Finally, the developed battery-less NFC sensor transponders were deployed in Cork Public Museum, Cork, Ireland and Fondazione Scienza e Tecnica (FST) in Florence, Italy to monitor artefacts in these museums. In addition, the transponder was also deployed in the world-famous Guggenheim museum in Venice, Italy, to monitor the interior temperature and humidity of Andy Warhol’s painting entitled flowers. In the second contribution, the optimum wireless communication technology for museum artefact monitoring applications in warehouses and exhibition cabinets was identified. For the identified technology (LoRaWAN), a testbed network was developed and deployed (7 sensor nodes) as proof of concept at Cork Public Museum, Cork, Ireland, to monitor the interior temperature and humidity of artefact display cases and storage cabinets. The wireless communication performance of LoRaWAN is shown to offer the optimal solution for wireless communication for this long-range application with a measured packet delivery ratio of 0.994 and an estimated battery lifetime of 10 years, considering a duty cycle of 1 data packet per day. The outcomes of this thesis contribute to the advancement of museum artefact monitoring, battery-less NFC sensing state-of-the-art for short-range storage analytics and a LoRaWAN solution for long-range analysis of warehouse cabinets and exhibitions.
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Wireless sensor networks , Internet of Things , NFC , LIG , Sensor integration , BLE mesh , LoRaWAN , NB-IoT , PDR , RFID , SigFox , WiFi , Zigbee , Battery-less NFC sensor , Cultural heritage objects , Energy harvesting , High-frequency RFID , Museum artifacts monitoring , Preventive conservation , Sensor technology , Smart archive box , Vibration energy harvester assisted NFC sensor , Graphene oxide , Artefact monitoring , Museum
Citation
Gawade, D. R. 2022. Development of a low-power, battery-less near field communication sensor transponder for wireless sensing applications. MRes Thesis, University College Cork.