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Design and Optimization of Passive UHF RFID Tag Antenna for Mounting on or inside Material Layers
Shao, Shuai

2015, Doctor of Philosophy, Ohio State University, Electrical and Computer Engineering.
There is great desire to employ passive UHF RFID tags for inventory tracking and sensing in a diversity of applications and environments. Owing to its battery-free operation, non-line-of sight detection, low cost, long read range and small form factor, each year billions of RFID tags are being deployed in retail, logistics, manufacturing, biomedical inventories, among many other applications. However, the performance of these RFID systems has not met expectations. This is because a tag's performance deteriorates significantly when mounted on or inside arbitrary materials. The tag antenna is optimized only for a given type of material at a certain location of placement, and detuning takes place when attached to or embedded in materials with dielectric properties outside the design range. Thereby, different customized tags may be needed for identifying objects even within the same class of products. This increases the overall cost of the system. Furthermore, conventional copper foil-based RFID tag antennas are prone to metal fatigue and wear, and cannot survive hostile environments where antennas could be deformed by external forces and failures occur. Therefore, it is essential to understand the interaction between the antenna and the material in the vicinity of the tag, and design general purpose RFID tag antennas possessing excellent electrical performance as well as robust mechanical structure.

A particularly challenging application addressed here is designing passive RFID tag antennas for automotive tires. Tires are composed of multiple layers of rubber with different dielectric properties and thicknesses. Furthermore, metallic plies are embedded in the sidewalls and steel belts lie beneath the tread to enforce mechanical integrity. To complicate matters even more, a typical tire experiences a 10% stretching during the construction process. This dissertation focuses on intuitively understanding the interaction between the antenna and the material in the proximity and designing broad band and mechanically robust RFID tag antennas for elastic materials.

As a first step, the effects of dielectric materials on an antenna's impedance match and radiation pattern are investigated. The detuning effect is quantified based on the theoretical frequency scaling and effective permittivity of a dielectric material of finite thickness. Using simple formulas, the operational range of a tag can be predicted without intensive full-wave simulations of different materials. Next, a spectral domain Green's function is applied to compute the antenna pattern when the tag is mounted on or inside a layered medium. The optimal placement of the tag is found based on the focusing effect that the material has on the gain pattern of the antenna. For tires, the steel ply in the sidewall of a tire looks like a periodic wire grating. The performance of an antenna placed close to a wire grating is predicted using Floquet theory. The results indicate that steel plies embedded in the tire can be utilized as a reflector to further focus the gain pattern and increase the read range of a tag.

Using these design tools and theoretical analysis, several broadband RFID tag antennas are designed for multi-layered materials. A novel stretchable conductive textile (E-fiber) based tag antenna is also developed for placement in elastic materials. Prototype antennas are fabricated and embedded in a tire during the tire manufacturing process. Experimental results indicate that tags with the new antennas achieve significant improvement compared with commercially available tags.
Robert Burkholder (Advisor)
John Volakis (Advisor)
Fernando Teixeira (Committee Member)
140 p.

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Shao, S. (2015). Design and Optimization of Passive UHF RFID Tag Antenna for Mounting on or inside Material Layers. (Electronic Thesis or Dissertation). Retrieved from https://etd.ohiolink.edu/

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Shao, Shuai. "Design and Optimization of Passive UHF RFID Tag Antenna for Mounting on or inside Material Layers." Electronic Thesis or Dissertation. Ohio State University, 2015. OhioLINK Electronic Theses and Dissertations Center. 23 Nov 2017.

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Shao, Shuai "Design and Optimization of Passive UHF RFID Tag Antenna for Mounting on or inside Material Layers." Electronic Thesis or Dissertation. Ohio State University, 2015. https://etd.ohiolink.edu/

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