Date of Award


Degree Name

MS in Electrical Engineering


Electrical Engineering


Tina Smilkstein


Recent advances in wireless sensor nodes, data acquisition devices, wearable and implantable medical devices have paved way for low power (sub 50uW) devices. These devices generally use small solid state or thin film batteries for power supply which need replacement or need to be removed for charging. RF energy harvesting technology can be used to charge these batteries without the need to remove the battery from the device, thus providing a sustainable power supply. In other cases, a battery can become unnecessary altogether. This enables us to deploy wireless network nodes in places where regular physical access to the nodes is difficult or cumbersome.

This thesis proposes a design of an RF energy harvesting device able to charge commercially available thin film or solid-state batteries. The energy harvesting amplifier circuit is designed in Global Foundry 0.13um CMOS technology using Cadence integrated circuit design tools. This Application Specific Integrated Circuit (ASIC) is intended to have as small a footprint as possible so that it can be easily integrated with the above-mentioned devices. While a dedicated RF power source is a direct solution to provide sustainable power to the harvesting circuit, harvesting ambient RF power from TV and UHF cellular frequencies increases the possibilities of where the harvesting device can be placed. The biggest challenge for RF energy harvesting technology is the availability of adequate amount of RF power. This thesis also presents a survey of available RF power at various ultra-high frequencies in San Luis Obispo, CA.The idea is to determine the frequency band which can provide maximum RF power for harvesting and design a harvester for that frequency band.