Enhanced Passive RF-DC Converter Circuit Efficiency for Low RF Energy Harvesting

Sensors (Basel). 2017 Mar 9;17(3):546. doi: 10.3390/s17030546.


For radio frequency energy transmission, the conversion efficiency of the receiver is decisive not only for reducing sending power, but also for enabling energy transmission over long and variable distances. In this contribution, we present a passive RF-DC converter for energy harvesting at ultra-low input power at 868 MHz. The novel converter consists of a reactive matching circuit and a combined voltage multiplier and rectifier. The stored energy in the input inductor and capacitance, during the negative wave, is conveyed to the output capacitance during the positive one. Although Dickson and Villard topologies have principally comparable efficiency for multi-stage voltage multipliers, the Dickson topology reaches a better efficiency within the novel ultra-low input power converter concept. At the output stage, a low-pass filter is introduced to reduce ripple at high frequencies in order to realize a stable DC signal. The proposed rectifier enables harvesting energy at even a low input power from -40 dBm for a resistive load of 50 kΩ. It realizes a significant improvement in comparison with state of the art solutions.

Keywords: Dickson topology; RF-DC Converter; Villard topology; power efficiency; radio frequency energy transmission; rectifier; voltage multiplier.