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Zero-Power Radio Receiver

Sandia National Laboratories

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PDF Document PublicationMarket Sheet
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Technology Marketing SummarySandia has developed a miniature, zero-power radio receiver that can be easily integrated in a wide range of devices to provide continuous wireless connectivity. The underlying principle behind the Zero-Power Receiver is that the powered radio frequency electronics that are used in most wireless receivers can be replaced with electronics that require no power supply or battery. Using this technology, a short range radio receiver (< 100m) can be built that uses no power other than the received RF signal. A longer range radio receiver can also be built that uses only DC amplification, for a total power consumption that is about 10,000x lower than a conventional radio receiver operating at a comparable range. DescriptionThe Zero-Power Receiver directly demodulates an amplitude modulated wake-up signal sent from a transmitter. The amplitude modulation can be sent using pulse coding to provide a unique device selective turn-on signal to the Zero-Power Receiver. It uses Sandia’s patented pyroelectric demodulator to provide direct RF-to-baseband conversion over a wide RF input frequency range and modulation bandwidths. The input impedance of the pyroelectric demodulator provides a match to 50 Ohm circuitry over a very wide bandwidth, ultimately only limited by the electronics packaging that contains the device. This technology solves multiple communication issues. When incorporated into a cellular phone or GPS, it eliminates the need for the device to constantly power on and off waiting for contact—greatly extending battery life. It can also greatly increase range and decrease size of currently available RFIDs. Benefits

• Completely unpowered operation for short range receivers

• Ultra-low power for long range receivers

• Extremely wide input bandwidth

Applications and Industries

• Cellular devices

• Wearable electronics

• Home automation

• Automotive control & sensing

• Biomedical devices

• Wireless RFID tags

• Animal tracking studies

• National security

Patents and Patent Applications
ID Number
Title and Abstract
Primary Lab
Patent 8,687,674
SAW correlator spread spectrum receiver
A surface acoustic wave (SAW) correlator spread-spectrum (SS) receiver is disclosed which utilizes a first demodulation stage with a chip length n and a second demodulation stage with a chip length m to decode a transmitted SS signal having a code length l=n.times.m which can be very long (e.g. up to 2000 chips or more). The first demodulation stage utilizes a pair of SAW correlators which demodulate the SS signal to generate an appropriate code sequence at an intermediate frequency which can then be fed into the second demodulation stage which can be formed from another SAW correlator, or by a digital correlator. A compound SAW correlator comprising two input transducers and a single output transducer is also disclosed which can be used to form the SAW correlator SS receiver, or for use in processing long code length signals.
Sandia National Laboratories 04/01/2014
Patent 9,460,321
Zero-power receiver
An unpowered signal receiver and a method for signal reception detects and responds to very weak signals using pyroelectric devices as impedance transformers and/or demodulators. In some embodiments, surface acoustic wave devices (SAW) are also used. Illustrative embodiments include satellite and long distance terrestrial communications applications.
Sandia National Laboratories 10/04/2016
Patent 7,397,301
Pyroelectric demodulating detector
A pyroelectric demodulating detector (also termed a pyroelectric demodulator) is disclosed which utilizes an electrical resistor stacked upon a pyroelectric element to demodulate an rf or microwave electrical input signal which is amplitude-modulated (AM). The pyroelectric demodulator, which can be formed as a hybrid or a monolithic device, has applications for use in AM radio receivers. Demodulation is performed by feeding the AM input signal into the resistor and converting the AM input signal into an AM heat signal which is conducted through the pyroelectric element and used to generate an electrical output signal containing AM information from the AM input signal.
Sandia National Laboratories 07/08/2008
Technology Status
Technology IDDevelopment StageAvailabilityPublishedLast Updated
SD#12469Prototype - Sandia estimates this technology at a Technology Readiness Level 6. A protosystem has been tested in a relevant environment.Available10/31/201610/31/2016

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