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Multi-Polarization Electromagnetic Energy Harvesting with High Efficiency

Article  in  IET Microwaves Antennas & Propagation · August 2018


DOI: 10.1049/iet-map.2018.5011

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IET Microwaves, Antennas & Propagation

Research Article

Multi-polarisation electromagnetic energy ISSN 1751-8725


Received on 20th February 2018
Revised 17th June 2018
harvesting with high efficiency Accepted on 30th July 2018
E-First on 3rd October 2018
doi: 10.1049/iet-map.2018.5011
www.ietdl.org

Bagher Ghaderi1, Vahid Nayyeri2 , Mohammad Soleimani1, Omar M. Ramahi3


1Antenna and Microwave Research Laboratory and School of Electrical Engineering, Iran University of Science and Technology, Tehran, Iran
2Antenna and Microwave Research Laboratory and School of New Technologies, Iran University of Science and Technology, Tehran, Iran
3Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering, University of Waterloo, ON, Canada

E-mail: nayyeri@iust.ac.ir

Abstract: This study presents a polarisation-independent metasurface harvester composed of an ensemble of novel electric-
field-coupled inductive-capacitive (ELC) resonators. The ELC resonator has full symmetry in a way that its behaviour is highly
insensitive to the polarisation of the incident wave. Loading the resonators with resistors (which model the input impedance of a
power combining circuit in a harvesting system), it is shown that the metasurface absorbs the incident electromagnetic wave
energy, with nearly unity harvesting efficiency, irrespective of its polarisation while simultaneously delivering the absorbed power
to the loads. As a proof of concept, a metasurface harvester composed of a 9 × 9 resonator array working at 2.45 GHz was
fabricated. Near-unity harvesting efficiency of the metasurface was demonstrated using full-wave numerical simulation for a
wide range of polarisation angles. Laboratory tests showed strong agreement between the simulation results and the
measurements.

1 Introduction In some recent works, metamaterial absorbers based on lumped


resistors were designed wherein the absorbed power dissipates in
Recently, a strong interest has emerged in energy harvesting and lumped resistors, which are placed between two sections of a
wireless power transfer technologies. These technologies resonator [17–22]. Notice that in these structures the resistors were
significantly increase the mobility and also improve the reliability not grounded; therefore, replacing them with rectifying circuits or
of low-power wireless devices such as wireless sensors [1]. The combining networks is challenging. In recent works, polarisation
radio frequency and microwaves regime have many advantages in independent and multiband metamaterial absorbers were reported
energy harvesting and wireless power transfer applications such as [15, 17, 18, 22]. However, in these works, the design objectives
low cost, compact size, light weight and feasibility of long-rang were strictly for energy absorption rather than energy harvesting
power transfer [2, 3]. An essential part of every microwave energy and rectification.
harvesting system is the rectanna which captures the energy of the Several works improved the performance of metasurface
electromagnetic (EM) wave by an antenna and then converts the harvesters such as employing ground-backed CSRR to increase the
absorbed microwave power to a direct current (DC) through a bandwidth of the harvester [25] and using an electric-field-coupled
rectifier. Traditional antennas have been used for capturing the EM inductive-capacitive (ELC) resonator [26] to achieve a metasurface
energy [4, 5]; however, it was recently shown that arrays of small harvester with near-unity microwave to AC conversion efficiency
resonators, namely metamaterials or metasurfaces are able to play [11]. In fact, in earlier studies, the high efficiency achieved using
this role with a much higher efficiency [6, 7]. Electrically small metasurfaces was highly polarisation dependent [6, 9–11, 25].
resonators such as split-ring resonators (SRRs) [6, 8] and Addressing this limitation was considered in some recent works
complementary SRR (CSRRs) [9, 10] have been used for energy [27–31]. In [27], an array of cross-shaped resonators, each loaded
harvesting applications resulting in high efficiency and for some with two resistors, was used to achieve a polarisation-independent
design, near-unity microwave to alternating current (AC) metasurface energy harvester. Regardless of the lack of
conversion efficiency (or harvesting efficiency) [11] (by the measurements, the main drawback of this work is a shift in the
microwave to AC conversion efficiency (or harvesting efficiency), operating frequency for different polarisation angles. Polarisation-
we mean the efficiency of the antenna to transfer the total power insensitive metasurfaces based on SRRs were reported in [28, 29]
incident on a specific area to available power at the feed of the AC where each cell consists of four identical SRRs with each loaded
to DC link [6]). with a resistor arranged in a central symmetry. Due to the
The behaviour of metasurface harvesters is similar to that of symmetry of the structures, almost identical harvesting efficiency
metamaterial absorbers [12–22]; however, there is a distinct for different polarisation angles was achieved. Since the captured
difference between them. In both structures, the resonators power by each cell is divided between four loads, and considering
efficiently couple to the EM wave in the free space. For a that in a practical harvesting system the absorbed power must be
harvesting application, the captured microwave energy must be combined, these designs call for an increase in the number of loads,
channelled to a power combining network which combines the which results in a more complicated and lossier combining
captured power by each cell and delivers the combined power to a network. Cheng et al. [30] proposed a polarisation-insensitive
rectifier [23, 24]. When designing metasurfaces as energy absorber composed of an array of ELC resonators for EM energy
harvesters, the input impedance of each branch of the power harvesting applications; however, the terminals of the cells are
combining network is typically modelled by a resistive load. differential (i.e. the terminals are placed between two sections of a
Notice that, since in a harvesting system the loads are replaced resonator and are not grounded) which limits its application as a
with a power combining network, having grounded loads (resistors harvester [30]. This classifies the design as an absorber rather than
with one grounded port) simplifies the system's architecture [23, a harvester (no fabrication and measurements were reported). In
24]. In most reported metamaterial absorbers, the absorbed wave [31], a metasurface composed of an array of sub-wavelength
dissipates in the structure as dielectric and copper losses [12–16]. butterfly-shaped closed ring resonators was proposed for

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polarisation-insensitive EM energy harvesting. However, to
achieve good harvesting efficiency, the load impedance was
required to be very high (around 3 kΩ) which differs considerably
from the input impedances of microwave power combining
networks, hence restricting the application in a real-world
harvesting system.
In this study, which is an extension of our recent conference
presentation [32], we introduce the design of a polarisation-
independent metasurface harvester based on an array of novel
symmetric ELC resonators. We numerically and experimentally
demonstrated that the harvester captures the incident EM wave
power and delivers it to the loads with a near-unity harvesting
efficiency (higher than 90%) for any polarisation angle of the
incident wave. We emphasise that in this study, similar to earlier
works on the design of metasurface harvesters [6–11, 27–31], we
do not take into account the loss due to the power combining
network and the rectifying circuits. However, it has been
theoretically and experimentally shown that implementation of a
metasurface harvester in a complete harvesting circuit including a
combining network and a rectifying circuit is feasible [23, 24].
The advantages of this work are (i) in contrast to [27], the
operating frequency of our harvester does not vary for different
polarisation angles. (ii) Each cell of our metasurface array has only
two terminals whereas in [28, 29] each cell is connected to four
terminals requiring a more complex power combining network.
(iii) In our design, the terminals are grounded (i.e. not differential)
whereas in [31] they are differential. (iv) To achieve a maximum
harvesting efficiency, the impedance of the terminals are required
to be 200 Ω, hence, the terminals can be simply connected to a
power combining network (power combiners can be simply
designed in a way that the input impedance of their branch is in this
range). Finally, we note that a recent paper reported the design and
fabrication of a multi-polarisation metasurface harvester, which has
been carried out in parallel to our work [33]. The work in [33],
however, uses a different cell topology and associated power
combining design. Fig. 1  Proposed unit cell of the metasurface harvester
(a) Top view, (b) Bottom view
2 Unit cell design
respectively. The figure clearly shows that when the electric field is
Fig. 1 shows the proposed unit cell of the metasurface harvester, along the y-axis (ϕ = 90∘), anti-circulating currents on the left and
which is a symmetric ELC resonator loaded with two resistors right sides of the resonators merge at the top of the cell and sink
using metallic vias. The unit cell is hosted on a dielectric substrate. through the top via. On the other hand, in the case of the slant
This novel resonator is formed by overlapping two identical ELC
incident electric field (ϕ = 45∘), the current emanates from the right
resonators comprising two face-to-face split-rings sharing the same
gap and rotated with respect to each other by 90°. In an earlier hole (right load) and sinks into the top via, thus the absorbed power
work [11], it was shown that the original ELC resonators excited divides between the two loads. Fig. 2b clearly shows that the
by a normally incident wave polarised along the resonators’ gap surface current, in this case (i.e. ϕ = 45∘), is the superposition of
efficiently absorb the incident power and deliver it to appropriate the surface currents in the case of x-polarised (ϕ = 0∘) and y-
loads. Therefore, with the new design, shown in Fig. 1, the polarised (ϕ = 90∘) incident field.
dependency on the polarisation of the incident wave is removed. Once the transmission (S21) and reflection (S11) coefficients of
Designing the cell to operate at the industrial, scientific and the unit cell (in a periodic configuration) are obtained, the
medical frequency of 2.45 GHz resulted in a resonator with the absorption of the structure is calculated as A(ω) = 1 − S11 2 − S21 2.
dimensions of L = 10.5 mm, s = 0.4 mm, w1 = 0.5 mm, w2 = 1.2  Since the substrate is backed by a ground plane, the transmission
mm, g = 0.8 mm, and via-diameter of 0.7 mm on a Rogers RT/ through the structure is almost zero as there is a negligible
duroid® 6006 substrate with a dielectric constant of 6.15, a loss transmission due to the defects on the ground plane. Thus, the
tangent of 0.0027, a thickness of 2.54 mm and copper thickness of absorption is simplified to A(ω) = 1 − S11(ω) 2 implying that lower
35 µm. It should be noted that a very low-loss substrate was used reflection coefficient results in higher absorption. Fig. 3a shows the
to minimise the dielectric loss which can degrade the efficiency of magnitude of S11 at the interface between the free space and the
the harvester. In addition, the resistance of the loads was tuned to slab. Clearly, for every polarisation angle at the frequency of 2.45 
achieve maximum power delivery to the loads. The optimised GHz, the slab is matched to the free space such that S11 < − 13 dB
value of the loads was found to be 200 Ω. which results in an absorption higher than 95%.
Using the full-wave frequency domain solver of CST For energy harvesting, a critical figure of merit is the harvesting
Microwave Studio [34], the cell was truncated by a period efficiency (microwave to AC conversion efficiency), which is
boundary condition in the x and y directions and was excited by a defined as the ratio of the power delivered to the loads (Pout) to the
floquet port in a way that a plane wave normally illuminated the power incident on the unit cell. The harvesting efficiency of the
structure (incident in the −z direction). The polarisation angle (ϕ), cell (or equivalently that of an infinite periodic structure) for
defined as the angle between the electric field and the x-axis (see different polarisations of the incident field (ϕ = 0∘, 30∘, 450∘, 60∘ and
Fig. 2), was scanned from 0° to 90°.
90°) is shown in Fig. 3b. A harvesting efficiency higher than 92%
Fig. 2a shows the surface current distribution on the resonator
is achieved for every polarisation angle. This maximum power
at the operating frequency of 2.45 GHz for different polarisation
delivery to the loads is primarily due to the use of a very low loss
angles of ϕ = 90∘, 60∘ and 45°. Notice that due to the diagonal substrate and, more importantly, the resistive loads that were
symmetry of the cell, the current distribution for ϕ = 0∘ and 30° is matched to the input impedance of the cell. (Notice that the value
symmetrical (with 90° rotation) to that of ϕ = 90∘ and 60°, the loads was optimised for maximum power delivery.)

2272 IET Microw. Antennas Propag., 2018, Vol. 12 Iss. 15, pp. 2271-2275
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Fig. 2  Surface current density on the resonator at the operating frequency of 2.45 GHz for different polarisation angles. The highest blue intensity
corresponds to 0 A/m and the highest red intensity corresponds to 100 A/m

Fig. 3  Simulation results of the unit cell for different polarisation angles
(a) Reflection, (b) Harvesting efficiency

3 Experimental validation
A 9 × 9 array of the proposed unit cells was fabricated (see Fig. 4)
where each cell was loaded with two identical 200 Ω resistors
(surface-mount resistors (manufactured by Vishay, size 0603) were
soldered to the bottom layer of the board as shown in Fig. 4b). By
setting up a measurement system in an anechoic chamber (see
Fig. 5), the output power delivered to the loads of the central cell
was measured for different polarisation angles of the incident field. Fig. 4  Fabricated metasurface harvester
A resistor of the central cell was replaced by a two-hole flange (a) Top layer with an inset showing the location of the vias, (b) Bottom layer with an
mount sub-miniature version A (SMA) connector in a way that the inset showing the placement of load resistors
pin of the SMA was soldered into a via (hole) of the central cell
and the flange panel was soldered to the ground plane (see Fig. 4b). the 50 Ω measuring instrument, a quarter of the delivered power is
The input impedance of most instruments is 50 Ω. To overcome the read by the spectrum analyser. It should be noted that the
impedance mismatch between a 50 Ω instrument and the harvester, impedance converter is directly connected to the cell through the
a 50–200 Ω impedance converter was placed between the SMA SMA connectors (without cabling). Ideally the characteristic these
connector and a 50 Ω spectrum analyser used for measurements connectors need to be 200 Ω; however, in the test setup, we use
(see Fig. 5a). As depicted in Fig. 5b, the impedance converter is commercial SMAs having a characteristic impedance of 50 Ω
basically a series 150 Ω resistor. In this figure by connecting the because the small electrical length of the connectors (at the
right connector to a 50 Ω device, the impedance seen from the left operating frequency) avoids considerable impedance mismatch.
port is 200 Ω which can be connected to the 200 Ω port of the cell. The distance between the transmitter horn antenna and the
However, since the voltage divides between the 150 Ω resistor and harvester was 7.5 m to ensure that the board was excited by a plane

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Fig. 5  Measurement system Fig. 6  Simulated and measured output power of the central cell for
(a) Schematic showing the measurements setup, (b) Schematic showing the different polarisation angles of the incident field
configuration of the 200–50 Ω impedance converter, (c) Actual measurement setup
(a) ϕ = 0∘ (and 90°), (b) ϕ = 30∘ (and 60°), (c) ϕ = 45∘
inside an anechoic chamber

wave. A cross-line laser was used for precise levelling


(positioning) of the harvester.
Fig. 6 shows the simulated and measured output power (the
power delivered to the loads) of the central cell for different
polarisation angles of the incident field, 0° (and 90°), 30° (and 60°)
and 45°. The simulation results were obtained using the time
domain solver of the CST software package wherein an array of
9 × 9 cells was normally illuminated by a plane wave. To have a
fair comparison between the simulation and measurement results,
in the simulations, the power density of the incident wave was set
to that in the measurements which were obtained using the Friis
transmission equation:
Fig. 7  Measured power for different polarisation angles
PtGt
Sinc = ,
4πR2 (at the frequencies of interest), it is close to the desired value of
200 Ω).
where Pt = 39 dBm is the transmitted power, Gt = 10.4 dB is the Finally, to more clearly illustrate the insensitivity of the
transmitter antenna gain, and R = 7.5 m is the distance from the harvester performance to the polarisation of the incident wave, the
transmitter to the harvester. Fig. 6 shows a good agreement measured output powers of the cell for different polarisation angles
between the simulated and measured results. Notice that in this were compared. The comparison shown in Fig. 7 demonstrates that
figure, an abrupt decay in the received measured power is observed the harvesting efficiency of the harvester is independent of the
which might be due to the termination of the central cell with an polarisation angle.
impedance not exactly 200 Ω. In fact, since the impedance
converter is connected to the harvester through a 50 Ω SMA
connector, the impedance seen by the cell is not exactly 200 Ω;
however, because of the small electrical length of the connectors
2274 IET Microw. Antennas Propag., 2018, Vol. 12 Iss. 15, pp. 2271-2275
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