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Fully Integrated Solar Energy Harvester and Sensor Interface Circuits for Energy-Efficient Wireless Sensing Applications

Author(s): Naser Khosro Pour | François Krummenacher | Maher Kayal

Journal: Journal of Low Power Electronics and Applications
ISSN 2079-9268

Volume: 3;
Issue: 1;
Start page: 9;
Date: 2013;
Original page

Keywords: analog integrated circuits | solar energy harvesting | ultra-low power circuits | power management circuits | sensor interface circuits | wireless sensor networks

This paper presents an energy-efficient solar energy harvesting and sensing microsystem that harvests solar energy from a micro-power photovoltaic module for autonomous operation of a gas sensor. A fully integrated solar energy harvester stores the harvested energy in a rechargeable NiMH microbattery. Hydrogen concentration and temperature are measured and converted to a digital value with 12-bit resolution using a fully integrated sensor interface circuit, and a wireless transceiver is used to transmit the measurement results to a base station. As the harvested solar energy varies considerably in different lighting conditions, in order to guarantee autonomous operation of the sensor, the proposed area- and energy-efficient circuit scales the power consumption and performance of the sensor. The power management circuit dynamically decreases the operating frequency of digital circuits and bias currents of analog circuits in the sensor interface circuit and increases the idle time of the transceiver under reduced light intensity. The proposed microsystem has been implemented in a 0.18 µm complementary metal-oxide-semiconductor (CMOS) process and occupies a core area of only 0.25 mm2. This circuit features a low power consumption of 2.1 µW when operating at its highest performance. It operates with low power supply voltage in the 0.8V to 1.6 V range.
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