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Towards the Optimal Antenna-Based Wireless Sensing Strategy: An Ice Sensing Case Study

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posted on 2022-06-17, 22:52 authored by Mahmoud WagihMahmoud Wagih, Junjie Shi

Remote ice detection has emerged as an application of Radio Frequency (RF) sensors. While antenna-based “RFID” sensing can detect various measurands, antenna-based sensors are not currently designed based on a systematic methodology, and in most cases may have a low sensitivity requiring specialist hardware or broadband interrogation signals, incompatible with spectrum regulations. Here, we develop a systematic methodology for designing an antenna-based sensor, applicable to measurands inducing a dielectric change in the near-field of the antenna. The proposed methodology is applied to designing printable antennas as highly-sensitive sensors for detecting and measuring the thickness of ice, demonstrating best-in-class sensory response compared to more complex antenna designs. Antenna design is investigated systematically for wireless interrogation in the 2.4 GHz band, where it is found that a loop antenna outperforms a dipole owing to its more distributed capacitance. The antenna’s realized gain was identified as the optimum parameter-under-test, with “positive” sensing proposed as a method of improving linearity and immunity to interference. The developed loop antenna sensor exhibits resilience to interference and applicability to different real-world deployment environments, demonstrated through over 80% average ice thickness measurement accuracy and at least 5 dB real-time sensitivity to ice deposition.


Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC)


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University of Glasgow

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  • United Kingdom