Owing to its low relative permittivity, very few microwave sensors have
been developed for monitoring ice deposition. This paper presents the
first use of UHF RFID tags for wireless RF ice sensing applications.
Despite its low permittivity, the existence of ice as a superstrate on a
planar ultra-thin dipole antenna can lower the resonance frequency of
the antenna significantly. The RFID tags, having a measured unloaded
range of 9.4 m, were evaluated for remotely detecting the formation of
ice in various scenarios and up to 10~m from the reader,
as well as monitoring the ice thawing, based on the Relative Signal
Strength (RSS) in a phase-free approach. Unlike conventional RSS-based
sensing approaches where the tag’s read-range is reduced as the RSS
decreases in response to the stimulant, the ice superstrate improves the
impedance matching of the tags, maintaining a 10 m loaded read-range
with over 12 dB ice-sensitivity, in an echoic multi-path environment.
The long range and high sensitivity show that UHF RFID is a promising
method of detecting and monitoring ice formation and thawing in future