Low cost printed, flexible, and energy autonomous Van-Atta and carbon-nanotubes-based mm-wave RFID gas sensors for ultra-long-range ubiquitous IoT and 5g implementations

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Hester, Jimmy G. D.
Tentzeris, Emmanouil M.
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Has the concept of "smart wall" or "smart surface" ever come through your mind? That is unlikely. Indeed, our interactions with the digital world—the universe predominantly stored and crated by data centers, connected through the internet—is generally mediated by discrete, dedicated, and recognizable components: your phone, your laptop, your smartwatch, or even your TV. This state is not the product of a lack of interest, need, or imagination. Indeed, the concept of "digital twin"—the virtual alter ego of a physical object—has started to make its way into Internet-of-Things-powered products and services. Rather, it is the consequence of hardware's inability to keep up with the exponentially-increasing demands and capabilities of software. The work presented in this thesis presents significant hardware developments, on the path leading towards the ubiquitous presence of intelligence, and the permeation of the physical into the digital. More specifically, the work reported in this document describes the creation of an approach that enables the addition of intelligence unto any surface, for the low-cost, real-time, and ubiquitous sensing of chemical agents. This outcome is the product of reported advances enabling the design and demonstration of fully-printed skin-like devices that can be precisely located and can fully-autonomously sense and transmit, at long range, in real time, part of the make-up of their chemical environments. These results were achieved through the combination of additive-manufacturing tools and technologies, nanomaterials-based sensing, and ultra-low-power mm-wave (24 to 28 GHz) retrodirective communications schemes and signal processing. Notably, the work describes (to our knowledge), the longest-ranging chipless RFIDs and unamplified monostatic backscatter RFIDs—at the time of their publication—and the first ever fully-inkjet-printed organophosphorus nerve agent in the literature.
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