Ultra Small Antenna and Low Power Receiver for Smart Dust Wireless Sensor Networks
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Wireless Sensor Networks have the potential for profound impact on our daily lives. Smart Dust Wireless Sensor Networks (SDWSNs) are emerging members of the Wireless Sensor Network family with strict requirements on communication node sizes (1 cubic centimeter) and power consumption (< 2mW during short on-states). In addition, the large number of communication nodes needed in SDWSN require highly integrated solutions. This dissertation develops new design techniques for low-volume antennas and low-power receivers for SDWSN applications. In addition, it devises an antenna and low noise amplifier co-design methodology to increase the level of design integration, reduce receiver noise, and reduce the development cycle. This dissertation first establishes stringent principles for designing SDWSN electrically small antennas (ESAs). Based on these principles, a new ESA, the F-Inverted Compact Antenna (FICA), is designed at 916MHz. This FICA has a significant advantage in that it uses a small-size ground plane. The volume of this FICA (including the ground plane) is only 7% of other state-of-the-art ESAs, while its efficiency (48.53%) and gain (-1.38dBi) are comparable to antennas of much larger dimensions. A physics-based circuit model is developed for this FICA to assist system level design at the earliest stage, including optimization of the antenna performance. An antenna and low noise amplifier (LNA) co-design method is proposed and proven to be valid to design low power LNAs with the very low noise figure of only 1.5dB. To reduce receiver power consumption, this dissertation proposes a novel LNA active device and an input/ouput passive matching network optimization method. With this method, a power efficient high voltage gain cascode LNA was designed in a 0.13um CMOS process with only low quality factor inductors. This LNA has a 3.6dB noise figure, voltage gain of 24dB, input third intercept point (IIP3) of 3dBm, and power consumption of 1.5mW at 1.0V supply voltage. Its figure of merit, using the typical definition, is twice that of the best in the literature. A full low power receiver is developed with a sensitivity of -58dBm, chip area of 1.1mm2, and power consumption of 2.85mW.