Simultaneously Wireless InFormation and energy Transfer (SWIFT)

Lead Research Organisation: University of Manchester
Department Name: Electrical and Electronic Engineering

Abstract

Information and energy are two fundamental notions in nature with critical impact on all aspects of life. All living and machine entities rely on both information and energy for their existence. Most, if not all, processes in life involve transforming, storing or transferring energy or information in one form or the other. Although these concepts are in harmony in nature, in traditional engineering design, information and energy are handled by two separate systems with limited interaction. In wireless communications, the relationship between information and energy is even more apparent as radio waves that carry information also transfer energy. Indeed, the first use of radio waves was for energy transfer rather than information transmission. However, despite the pioneering work of Tesla, who experimentally demonstrated wireless energy transfer (WET) in the late 19th century, modern wireless communication systems mainly focus on the information content of the radio-frequency (RF) radiation, neglecting the energy transported by the signal. This project is the first interdisciplinary initiative to promote innovation and technology transfer between academia and industry in the UK for one of the most challenging and most important problems in future communication networks: The simultaneous transfer of both energy and information. The aim of this project is to develop a new theoretical framework for the design and operation of next-generation networks with simultaneously wireless information and energy transfer (SWIFT) capabilities. The research efforts are interdisciplinary and bring together researchers with strong and complementary backgrounds in the domain of wireless communications such as electronics/microwave engineering, information theory, game theory, control theory, and communication theory to bridge the gap between theory and practice of future WET-based communication systems.

Planned Impact

In wireless communication systems, information transfer is accomplished by transmitting electromagnetic waves. In this case, information is modulated onto a carrier signal, which conveys not only information, but also energy from the transmitter to the receiver. Wireless energy transfer (WET), pioneered by Tesla more than 100 years ago, is an idea at least as old as radio communications. However, due to health concerns and the large antenna dimensions required for transmission of high energy levels, until recently WET has been limited mostly to very short distance applications. In particular, recent advances in silicon technology have significantly reduced the energy needs of electronic systems, making WET over radio waves a potential source of energy for low power devices.

The SWIFT project constitutes UK's first collaborative effort to address the fundamental practical and theoretical aspects of WET in future wireless networks. By bringing together experts from electronics/microwave engineering, information theory, control theory, and wireless communication, this project aims to 1) provide a rigorous and complete mathematical theory for SWIFT via information/communication/control theoretic studies; 2) investigate key physical and cross-layer mechanisms that will enable the integration of SWIFT into future wireless systems; 3) identify new network architectures that will fully exploit the potential benefits of SWIFT; and 4) implement SWIFT in a real-world application scenario in a sophisticated internet of things system consisting of MEMS multi-antenna robots and state of the art sensors.

The results of this interdisciplinary project can find various applications (such as the radio-frequency identification (RFID) technology, healthcare monitoring, etc.), where radio wave based information and energy transmissions have largely been designed separately. For example, wireless implants can be charged and calibrated concurrently with the same signal, wireless sensor nodes can be charged with the control signals they receive from the access point, and mobile phones can download emails while being wirelessly charged. SWIFT will create a platform of scientific and technical exchange between the project partners and other academic and industrial institutions spread all over the world via the organization of scientific meetings in the UK around relevant topics for the development of UK WET technologies covering a plethora of new applications. Immediate industrial beneficiaries of this project are companies involved in developing energy harvesting systems and robust wireless sensor networks for the purpose of environmental monitoring or military controlling. The whole UK economy and society will benefit indirectly, as the project aims at building on the UK's reputation for providing energy and spectral efficient communication solutions. Areas of high value to society that will also directly benefit from this research include education and training. In addition to the researchers directly involved in the project, there will be wider benefits to students at the Universities, from involvement in cutting edge research which will feed through into teaching activities. The PIs have a good history of collaboration with industry and use research to inform teaching at higher levels.

Publications

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Related Projects

Project Reference Relationship Related To Start End Award Value
EP/N005597/1 01/12/2015 09/04/2018 £305,891
EP/N005597/2 Transfer EP/N005597/1 10/04/2018 30/05/2019 £97,239
 
Description The SWIFT project constitutes a paradigm shift of foundational character in future wireless networks as it targets fundamental issues regarding the modelling, analysis, and design of wireless communication systems with SWIFT capabilities. Towards these goals, the key findings from this research projects are listed as follows:
1.) SWIFT opens the door to a completely different way of understanding energy and spectral efficiency in wireless systems. We have utilized mathematical tools, such as stochastic modelling and geometry, random matrix theory, game theory, and characterized the trade-off between energy, system throughput, fairness, and reliability.
2.) In contrast to conventional WET networks, which passively harvest, SWIFT enables a fully controlled RF energy harvesting (EH) process by simultaneously transferring data and energy. We have studied active EH which further ensures robustness and reliability by reducing or even eliminating the dependence on ambient RF energy.
3.) SWIFT introduces a trade-off between information and energy transfer. This trade-off necessitates novel designs at all levels of the protocol stack. Sophisticated cross-layer approaches have been designed by bringing advanced physical layer techniques, such as full duplexing and massive multiple-input multiple-output (MIMO), together with dynamic resource allocation protocols.
Exploitation Route Our research outcomes have been shared with the research community by publishing our works in international leading journals, including the preprints of our articles in arxiv and Researchgate, and presenting various tutorials and keynotes in international conferences.
Sectors Digital/Communication/Information Technologies (including Software),Energy

URL https://personalpages.manchester.ac.uk/staff/zhiguo.ding/index
 
Description In wireless communication systems, information transfer is accomplished by transmitting electromagnetic waves. In this case, information is modulated onto a carrier signal, which conveys not only information, but also energy from the transmitter to the receiver. Wireless energy transfer (WET), pioneered by Tesla more than 100 years ago, is an idea at least as old as radio communications. However, due to health concerns and the large antenna dimensions required for transmission of high energy levels, until recently WET has been limited mostly to very short distance applications. In particular, recent advances in silicon technology have significantly reduced the energy needs of electronic systems, making WET over radio waves a potential source of energy for low power devices. The SWIFT project constitutes UK's first collaborative effort to address the fundamental practical and theoretical aspects of WET in future wireless networks. By bringing together experts from electronics/micro-wave engineering, information theory, control theory, and wireless communication, this project aims to 1) provide a rigorous and complete mathematical theory for WIET via information/communication/control theoretic studies; 2) investigate key physical and cross-layer mechanisms that will enable the integration of WIET into future wireless systems; 3) identify new network architectures that will fully exploit the potential benefits of WIET; and 4) implement WIET in a real-world application scenario in a sophisticated internet of things system consisting of MEMS multi-antenna robots and state of the art sensors. Our findings have attracted a lot of attention from the research community. For example, we have received the prestigious 2018 IEEE Henrich Hertz Award (for paper - Z. Ding, M. Peng and H. V. Poor, "Cooperative Non-Orthogonal Multiple Access in 5G Systems", IEEE Communication Letters, 2015) This award is to recognize the best paper published in the IEEE Communications Letters and IEEE Wireless Communications Letters in a 3-year time window (around 3000 journal articles, https://www.comsoc.org/about/awards/paper-awards/ieee-communications-society-heinrich-hertz-award-best-communications)
First Year Of Impact 2019
Sector Digital/Communication/Information Technologies (including Software)
Impact Types Societal