Analysis and design of UHF and millimetre wave radio frequency identification

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Informaatio- ja luonnontieteiden tiedekunta | Doctoral thesis (article-based)
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Radio frequency identification (RFID) is an asymmetric radio protocol, where uplink communication (from transponder to reader) is implemented with backscattering modulation. The idea was first demonstrated in the 1940's. One of the first consumer applications of RFID was access control, and key cards based on an inductive near field coupling are widely used even today. The introduction of Schottky diodes to CMOS processes enabled passive RFID, i.e. transponders without a battery, at ultra high frequencies (UHF) with reasonable cost and read range in the end of 1990's. This has opened up new applications and inspired new research on RFID. This thesis studies the radio frequency (RF) components and general RF phenomena in RFID at UHF and millimetre waves. The theoretical analysis of the radio path reveals that the read range of a passive UHF system is ideally limited by the downlink, i.e. the power transfer from reader to the transponder. However, the architecture of the reader RF front end is critical, because the transmitted signal may couple a significant amount of noise to the receiver, overpowering the faint reflection from the transponder. In the thesis, two adaptive RF front ends are introduced to eliminate the noise coupling from the transmitter. One of the most critical problems with UHF RFID has been the detuning of transponder antennas on different mounting platforms. The detuning may significantly diminish the read range of the transponder, especially on metal surfaces. In this thesis, two backscattering-based measurement techniques for the transponder antennas are presented. The detuning effect has been studied using these measurement techniques, and a platform tolerant antenna is introduced. RFID at millimetre waves enables miniaturisation of the reader antenna, and widening the data bandwidth over short distances. This could be used to access wirelessly mass memories with wide data bandwidth. A semi-passive or active transponder could communicate, e.g., with automotive radars. The millimetre wave identification (MMID) has been theoretically studied and experimentally verified at 60 GHz.
radio frequency identification, RFID, ultra high frequency, UHF, millimetre waves, millimetre wave identification, MMID, antenna, scattering, backscattering modulation, scattering measurement, reader device, adaptive rf front end
Other note
  • [Publication 1]: P. Pursula, J. Marjonen, H. Ronkainen, and K. Jaakkola. 2007. Wirelessly powered sensor transponder for UHF RFID. In: Technical Digest of the 14th International Conference on Solid-State Sensors, Actuators and Microsystems (TRANSDUCERS & EUROSENSORS '07). Lyon, France. 10-14 June 2007, pages 73-76. © 2007 IEEE. By permission.
  • [Publication 2]: Pekka Pursula, Tauno Vähä-Heikkilä, Alexandru Müller, Dan Neculoiu, George Konstantinidis, Aarne Oja, and Jussi Tuovinen. 2008. Millimeter-wave identification—a new short-range radio system for low-power high data-rate applications. IEEE Transactions on Microwave Theory and Techniques, volume 56, number 10, pages 2221-2228. © 2008 IEEE. By permission.
  • [Publication 3]: M. Hirvonen, P. Pursula, K. Jaakkola, and K. Laukkanen. 2004. Planar inverted-F antenna for radio frequency identification. Electronics Letters, volume 40, number 14, pages 848-849. © 2004 The Institution of Engineering and Technology (IET). By permission.
  • [Publication 4]: Pekka Pursula, Mervi Hirvonen, Kaarle Jaakkola, and Timo Varpula. 2007. Antenna effective aperture measurement with backscattering modulation. IEEE Transactions on Antennas and Propagation, volume 55, number 10, pages 2836-2843. © 2007 IEEE. By permission.
  • [Publication 5]: Pekka Pursula, Dan Sandström, and Kaarle Jaakkola. 2008. Backscattering-based measurement of reactive antenna input impedance. IEEE Transactions on Antennas and Propagation, volume 56, number 2, pages 469-474. © 2008 IEEE. By permission.
  • [Publication 6]: Pekka Pursula, Mikko Kiviranta, and Heikki Seppä. 2009. UHF RFID reader with reflected power canceller. IEEE Microwave and Wireless Components Letters, accepted for publication, to be published in January 2009. © 2009 IEEE. By permission.
  • [Publication 7]: Pekka Pursula and Heikki Seppä. 2008. Hybrid transformer-based adaptive RF front end for UHF RFID mobile phone readers. In: Proceedings of the 2008 IEEE International Conference on RFID. Las Vegas, USA. 16-17 April 2008, pages 150-155. © 2008 IEEE. By permission.
  • [Errata file]: Errata of publications 2 and 4