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ChiplEss MultisEnsor Rfid for GrEen NeTworks

Periodic Reporting for period 2 - EMERGENT (ChiplEss MultisEnsor Rfid for GrEen NeTworks)

Reporting period: 2017-01-01 to 2018-12-31

EMERGENT project aimed to realize a new class of chipless Radio Frequency IDentification (RFID) tags and sensors moving from conventional wired-based sensors towards next generation pervasive Radio Frequency interconnected systems. Environmental-friendly substrates such as paper has been considered as well as low-cost fabrication processes.

The technologies developed under EMERGENT project have the potential to foster the development of applications that can benefit from low-cost sensors and therefore it can represent an enabling technology for security, home automation and health.

In conclusion, the project has demonstrated the operation capabilities in relevant evnvironment of three sensors. Two of them are based on chipless RFID sensors and the last one based on semi-passive RFID sensor. More in detail:

1) Temperature sensor: a chipless temperature threshold sensor structure in a real environment has been demonstrated. Two structures based on a C-scatterer designed to resonate in regulated frequency bands have been proposed. The proposed solution favours the implementation of an RFID chipless sensor in the real-world environment since it increases its compatibility with the commercially available conventional RFID readers.

2) Permittivity sensor: a permittivity sensing prototype based on depolarizing tags using dedicated reader has been reported. The sensor tag senses the permittivity of the material attached on its back side. A portable reader architecture for frequency-domain chipless tags operating in the range 1.9-2.5 GHz has been developed. The reader cost is roughly 120 dollars for 1Kpcs. The operation of the reader measuring depolarizing tags is demonstrated in non-anechoic environment at a distance of 20 cm. The fabricated reader has been tested with a 4-bit depolarizing tag in a multipath scenario.

3) Apnoea detector: a wireless apnoea detector using a semi-passive RFID tag has been presented. The device is based on the measurement of the airflow temperature changes that are produced during breathing. The wireless communication is performed by modulating the response of varactor-loaded frequency selective surfaces. This backscattering technique saves a lot of energy in comparison to its alternatives and guarantees a long lifetime for the device. A custom reader with IoT connection has also been developed using commercial components. Read ranges up to 3 m are typically obtained. A real time algorithm is used to measure the breathing rate and detect the apnoea intervals. Connection to the cloud is also demonstrated.
Project activities started with a thorough analysis of the competing technological solutions available in the sensor market. The electromagnetic characterization of candidate materials (graphene, carbon nanotubes, polymers) able to sense changes in some environmental parameters (temperature, humidity, stress, gas ) have been performed as well. Within this framework, a selection of the materials having the best sensitivity to the parameters to sense has been considered for the integration in sensors. Analysis and characterization of the conductive inks in terms of surface conductivity has been also addressed and low-cost solutions have been found. Inkjet printing on polyimide and coated papers have been performed.

OVERVIEW OF THE RESULTS (final period):

The main objective of this work package has been to show operation of the prototypes in realistic scenes before they can be taken into account to be included in real applications and become a mature and reliable technology in the near future. The performance of three final prototypes integrating the work done during the project. Two of them are based on chipless RFID sensors and the last one based on semi-passive RFID sensor:

- Temperature sensor. The validation of a novel chipless temperature threshold sensor structure in a real environment is done. Two structures based on a C-scatterer are proposed.
- Permittivity sensor. A permittivity sensing prototype based on depolarizing tags using dedicated reader is reported.
- Apnoea detector. A wireless apnoea detector using a semi-passive RFID tag is presented. The device is based on the measurement of the airflow temperature changes that are produced during breathing.

EXPLOITATION AND DISSEMINATION (final period):

- Activities related to communication and outreach of project progress and results planned have been accomplished.
- Many networking events, those planned and new ones, have been attended by the project’s partners.
- Several journal papers have been published with the acknowledgment to the EMERGENT project. - Several publications appeared also in international conferences. The complete list of publications is available on the portal and on the EMERGENT website. The open access version of the paper is available on the project website.
- EMERGENT website (http://www.emergent-rise.eu) has disseminated project progress results and promoted project events also through the Twitter account of the Project (@emergent_rise).
- An article entitled 'From sensors to readers' has been published at page 96 on “Platinum online Journal, section Research&Innovation”, an international insert of the “Sole24ore” Newspaper.
- An animation video, developed with a professional company, has been has been posted on the project website and also on the Social Networks (Twitter, Facebook).
The technologies developed under EMERGENT project have the potential to deliver novel applications across different sectors and influence society. The development of low-cost sensors and, more in general, the field of printed electronics can be classified as enabling technologies for their potential impact on very different societal scenarios. Applications of low cost-sensors include Smart Security and Emergencies, Smart Agriculture, Animal Farming, Domotic, Home Automation and eHealth.
On the company side, the advances obtained in terms of low-cost printing technology can be applied to the vast area of printed electronics. Moreover, the activity of Cubit in developing a reader for chipless RFID tags and sensors has the potential to become the first reader of this kind in the market. It is therefore a valuable asset that will allow placing the companies in a strategic position in the RFID reader market.

The results of the EMERGENT project can be exploited in several areas of applications. The most immediate result is clearly related to green chipless RFID tags and sensors. The experience gained in terms of characterization, fabrication and design can be applied to the design of chipless RFID tags for tracking of goods and access control but it can be advantageously employed also for providing additional security for anti-counterfeiting.
The most important breakthrough technologies developed in the EMERGENT project are the following:
• Methods and techniques for the characterization of chemical interactive materials (CIM). New techniques and setup for studying the variation of the dielectric permittivity and surface resistance of materials have been developed.
• Inkjet printing of highly conductive patterns on flexible and green materials.
• Passive chipless sensors printed on flexible materials.