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Title: Design, analysis and implementation of voltage sensor for power-constrained systems
Author: Ramezani, Reza
ISNI:       0000 0004 5353 8621
Awarding Body: University of Newcastle Upon Tyne
Current Institution: University of Newcastle upon Tyne
Date of Award: 2014
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Thanks to an extensive effort by the global research community, the electronic technology has significantly matured over the last decade. This technology has enabled certain operations which humans could not otherwise easily perform. For instance, electronic systems can be used to perform sensing, monitoring and even control operations in environments such as outer space, underground, under the sea or even inside the human body. The main difficulty for electronics operating in these environments is access to a reliable and permanent source of energy. Using batteries as the immediate solution for this problem has helped to provide energy for limited periods of time; however, regular maintenance and replacement are required. Consequently, battery solutions fail wherever replacing them is not possible or operation for long periods is needed. For such cases, researchers have proposed harvesting ambient energy and converting it into an electrical form. An important issue with energy harvesters is that their operation and output power depend critically on the amount of energy they receive and because ambient energy often tends to be sporadic in nature, energy harvesters cannot produce stable or fixed levels of power all of the time. Therefore, electronic devices powered in this way must be capable of adapting their operation to the energy status of the harvester. To achieve this, information on the energy available for use is needed. This can be provided by a sensor capable of measuring voltage. However, stable and fixed voltage and time references are a prerequisite of most traditional voltage measurement devices, but these generally do not exist in energy harvesting environments. A further challenge is that such a sensor also needs to be powered by the energy harvester’s unstable voltage. In this thesis, the design of a reference-free voltage sensor, which can operate with a varying voltage source, is provided based on the capture of a portion of the total energy which is directly related to II the energy being sensed. This energy is then used to power a computation which quantifies captured energy over time, with the information directly generated as digital code. The sensor was fabricated in the 180 nm technology node and successfully tested by performing voltage measurements over the range 1.8 V to 0.8 V.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available