Compact readout system for chipless passive LC tags and its application for humidity monitoring
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SponsorshipThis work was supported by project CTQ2016-78754-C2-1-R from the Spanish Ministry of Economics and Competitivity. P. Escobedo wants to thank the Spanish Ministry of Education, Culture and Sport (MECD) for a pre-doctoral grant (FPU13/05032).
The development of a contactless readout system for High Frequency (HF) tags and its application to relative humidity monitoring is presented. The system consists of a Colpitts oscillator circuit whose frequency response is determined by a built-in logic counter of a microcontroller unit. The novel readout strategy is based on the frequency response change due to the inductive coupling between the coil of the Colpitts oscillator and the load impedance of a parallel LC resonator tag, as a result of the variation of the humidity sensing capacitor. The frequency is monitored with a low cost microcontroller, resulting in a simple readout circuit. This passive LC tag has been directly screen-printed on a humidity-sensitive flexible substrate. The readout circuit experimental uncertainty as frequency meter was 4 kHz in the HF band. A linear temperature drift of (-1.52 ± 0.17) kHz/⁰C was obtained, which can be used to apply thermal compensation if required. The readout system has been validated as a proof of concept for humidity measurement, obtaining a significant change of about 260 kHz in the resonance frequency of the Colpitts oscillator when relative humidity varies from 10% to 90%, with a maximum uncertainty of ±3% (±2 SD). Therefore, the proposed readout system stands as a compact, low-cost, contactless solution for chipless HF tags that avoids the use of bulky and costly equipment for the analog reading of wireless passive LC sensors.