Optical Wake-up from Power-off State for Autonomous Sensor Nodes

Optical Wake-up from Power-off State for Autonomous Sensor Nodes

Kategorien Zeitschriften/Aufsätze
Jahr 2020
Autoren Dudko U.; Overmeyer, L.
Veröffentlicht in IEEE Sensors Journal

Wireless sensor nodes spend most of their time in standby mode and wake up periodically to send measurement data. Typically, a radio-frequency antenna is coupled with an amplifier to provide this wake-up function; together, these two elements recognize instances of radio signal activation. Even during standby operation, the sensor node utilizes a certain base amount of energy, which can be critical when using an energy-harvesting source. In this study, we propose a novel optical approach to the wake-up function for autonomous sensor nodes, which employs a solar cell as the wake-up signal detector. A bright light flash coming from another node or a smartphone hits a solar cell and activates the sensor node. Unlike photodiodes or RF-antennas, solar cells do not require any additional energy to detect such a signal. Therefore, the proposed electrical circuit allows the sensor node to wake-up from a complete power-off state. The solar cell of the novel wake-up receiver has an area of sensitivity of 8 mm × 10 mm. The wake-up signal can be recognized from a maximum distance of 25 cm at a range of ambient illumination from 0 – 1600 lx with a transmitter optical power of 20 mW. In the power-off state, the power consumption of this novel design is the lowest of all existing off-the-shelf wake-up receivers: 248 pW at 0 lx and 627 nW at 1600 lx.

DOI 10.1109/JSEN.2020.3023817