A 24-GHz Front-End Integrated on a Multilayer Cellulose-Based Substrate for Doppler Radar Sensors

Sensors (Basel). 2017 Sep 12;17(9):2090. doi: 10.3390/s17092090.


This paper presents a miniaturized Doppler radar that can be used as a motion sensor for low-cost Internet of things (IoT) applications. For the first time, a radar front-end and its antenna are integrated on a multilayer cellulose-based substrate, built-up by alternating paper, glue and metal layers. The circuit exploits a distributed microstrip structure that is realized using a copper adhesive laminate, so as to obtain a low-loss conductor. The radar operates at 24 GHz and transmits 5 mW of power. The antenna has a gain of 7.4 dBi and features a half power beam-width of 48 degrees. The sensor, that is just the size of a stamp, is able to detect the movement of a walking person up to 10 m in distance, while a minimum speed of 50 mm/s up to 3 m is clearly measured. Beyond this specific result, the present paper demonstrates that the attractive features of cellulose, including ultra-low cost and eco-friendliness (i.e., recyclability and biodegradability), can even be exploited for the realization of future high-frequency hardware. This opens opens the door to the implementation on cellulose of devices and systems which make up the "sensing layer" at the base of the IoT ecosystem.

Keywords: Doppler radar sensors; Internet of things (IoT); all-natural electronic; circuits on cellulose; flexible substrates; green electronics; paper-based substrates; substrate integrated circuits.