Simultaneously Wireless InFormation and energy Transfer (SWIFT) - LEEDS costs

Lead Research Organisation: University of Leeds
Department Name: Electronic and Electrical 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.
 
Description Wireless power transfer continues to receive a lot of attention in academia and industry, including applications as diverse as consumer electronics and transport applications.However, it is important to recognise that there are two distinct types; short range systems, operating in the near field, are quite well developed and can be safely used at high power levels, even to charge electric vehicles. This project was, however, focused on systems operating in the so-called far-field, in order to power robots and sensors over greater distances. Safety limits for radio wave transmissions impose a limit on what can be achieved in practice. For this reason, we have focused on two applications and the work is carrying on in two major EPSRC projects. The first application is powering sensor nodes at a distance from a drone or robot, and we are intending to demonstrate this for bridge condition monitoring in the Grand Challenge Project "Balancing the impact of City Infrastructure Engineering on Natural systems using Robots". The second is inside pipes, which we demonstrated successfully and will be exploring further in the Programme Grant "Pervasive Sensing for Buried Pipes" which started in March 2019.
Exploitation Route An interesting application area is in nuclear power applications, which were outside the scope of the project, but we may explore this with established centres for nuclear inspection robotics. For many applications, it is possible that AI and intelligent antennas could solve the safety issues for significant power transfer at a distance, but that is some way off and poses some interesting technical and regulatory challenges. Sensor nodes do not require as much dc power as robots and sensors could be powered wirelessly in the far field for many application sectors.
Sectors Aerospace, Defence and Marine,Agriculture, Food and Drink,Chemicals,Construction,Electronics,Energy,Environment,Healthcare,Leisure Activities, including Sports, Recreation and Tourism,Manufacturing, including Industrial Biotechology,Pharmaceuticals and Medical Biotechnology,Retail,Security and Diplomacy,Transport,Other

 
Description Pervasive Sensing for Buried Pipes (Programme Grant)
Amount £7,290,965 (GBP)
Funding ID EP/S016813/1 
Organisation Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) 
Sector Public
Country United Kingdom
Start 03/2019 
End 02/2024
 
Title Charaterisation of the dielectric properties of biological tissues 
Description Data on the dielectric properties of biological tissues, i.e. complex relative permittivity of porcine skin and subcutaneous fat, as well as rat skin, was measured and collected using two different methods. These were an open-ended coaxial probe, and an aperture-coupled microstrip fixture. The data was collected over the frequency range 144 MHz to 18 GHz, for layers of various thickness. 
Type Of Material Database/Collection of data 
Year Produced 2018 
Provided To Others? No  
Impact These data were collected in order to facillitate the development of wearable and implantable technology, which will benefit from either far-field wireless power transfer or near-field capacitive power transfer. The knowledge of the complex relative permittivity of tissue is crucial for any such technology, and as readily available data is scarce or outdated, we started measurements in collaboration with the Faculty of Biological Sciences at the University of Leeds, who will also benefit from the technology development. 
 
Title Dataset associated with "Terahertz Dielectric Property Characterization of Photopolymers for Additive Manufacturing" 
Description Figures and source data for the paper '0.2 - 1.4-THz Dielectric Property Characterization of Photopolymers for Additive Manufacturing': In this paper, resin-based photocurable polymer materials for stereolithography (SLA), digital-light-processing (DLP) and polymer-jetting (PolyJet) additive manufacturing techniques were characterized from 0.2 - 1.4 terahertz (THz) for their comprehensive dielectric properties, e.g. reflective index, absorption coefficient, dielectric constant and loss tangent, by using laser-based time-domain spectroscopy (TDS). Fourteen photocurable 3D-printing polymers were chosen due to their suitability, in terms of printing resolution, material characteristics and etc., for millimeter-wave (mm-wave) and THz applications. The propagation loss mechanism and other electrical/optical properties of the chosen photopolymers for terahertz radiation were determined by correlating absorption coefficients and loss tangents obtained from the measurements. To demonstrate the utilization of the selected photopolymers at THz spectrum, an asymptotically quasi-single-mode Bragg fiber microfabricated by DLP micromanufacturing technique using HTM140-V2 photopolymer was prototyped and characterized at the nominal frequencies from 0.246 to 0.276 THz. The measurement results show that the average propagation loss of the asymptotically single-mode THz Bragg fiber is less than 5dB/m for the whole band, which is the lowest propagation loss reported to date for asymptotically single-mode all-dielectric fiber at this frequency band. 
Type Of Material Database/Collection of data 
Year Produced 2018 
Provided To Others? Yes  
 
Description Instrumentel 
Organisation Instrumentel
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Private 
PI Contribution -
Collaborator Contribution Advice on applications, especially in railways
Impact -
Start Year 2016
 
Description Project Partner: King's College London 
Organisation King's College London
Department Institute of Pharmaceutical Science
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution KCL is modelling networks of SWIFT systems, we support with hardware expertise
Collaborator Contribution -
Impact =
Start Year 2015
 
Description Project partner: University of Lancaster 
Organisation Lancaster University
Department Department of Physics
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution Leeds is supporting the modelling work with hardware design expertise.
Collaborator Contribution Lancaster is focused on modelling SWIFT systems, currently looking at power splitting and time sharing approaches in realistic propagation environments
Impact -
Start Year 2015
 
Title Wireless Power Transfer System Design 
Description The software consists of a combination of scripts written in Python 3, as well as a Jupyter notebook which illustrates the software on a step-by-step basis. The software combines several pre-existing formulas, as well as original research, to facilitate the system-level design of a point-to-point wireless power transfer link. Inputs to the software can be distance, required DC power and/or available RF power, operating frequency, and any restrictions on the physical size of the system. Outputs generated are antenna array sizes, as well as anything else that was not specified as an input. 
Type Of Technology Software 
Year Produced 2017 
Open Source License? Yes  
Impact This software was used to streamline and facilitate the design and development of the system for wireless power transfer through a metal pipe. The same software was also used to inform the ongoing development of a wireless power transfer system at the 5.8 GHz ISM band for powering sensor nodes with low-energy consumption. 
 
Description Careers Workshop 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Local
Primary Audience Schools
Results and Impact Viktor Doychinov delivered another workshop as part of IntoUniversity's Careers in FOCUS programme. The workshop was delivered to three groups of 8 children over the course of a day, and was delivered concurrently to workshops on careers in healthcare and dentistry. This time the topic of wearable electronics and personalised medicine was explored, via prototyping a heart-rate monitor using BBC micro:bits. A major part of the workshop was the hands-on activity, followed by a Q&A about the engineering profession in general, as well as different strands of electronic and electrical engineering. The main purpose of this workshop was to offer secondary school children from disadvantaged backgrounds an insight into what modern engineering is like and how they can pursue a career in it. Feedback from IntoUniversity staff was positive, with several children stating that they would like to learn more about different engineering careers.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2018
 
Description School Visit (Leeds) 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Local
Primary Audience Schools
Results and Impact Viktor Doychinov delivered a talk to a group of secondary school pupils at the Cooperative Academy in Leeds on the topic of engineering in general and wireless power transfer in particular. This included an interactive activity where students explored the concept of solar powered satellites and their potential use to supply power to the Earth. This was part of a series of talks organised by the charity IntoUniversity, called Careers in FOCUS. The talk was well received by both the students and IntoUniversity representatives, prompting the creation of a follow-on activity as a "homework" project for the students.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2017
 
Description Tomorrow's Engineers 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Regional
Primary Audience Schools
Results and Impact National STEM Learning Centre in York. Event was organised by Tomorrow's Engineers for their Robotics Challenge. It was a whole day event where, together with other volunteer judges, we spoke to pupils aged 11-14 about robots they had designed using LEGO EV3, how they had approached various challenges and problems and solved them as teams. They had to give short presentations as well as demonstrate their robots completing some tasks.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2017
 
Description Workshop at the National Media and Science Museum in Bradford 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Regional
Primary Audience Schools
Results and Impact Viktor Doychinov took part in the National Media and Science Museum's DREAM BIG School Engineers Event, where he delivered an activity on the use of radiowaves to communicate with and control robots. Additionally, the use of robots to carry out tasks dangerous to humans was explored. This was achieved via a crystal radio set, which allowed pupils to listen to the "sound" of various metal objects, and a prototyle lamppost climbing robot developed at the University of Leeds. The talk and activity were delivered to 11 groups of 10 primary school students over the course of a day, including a larger homeschooled group. Engagement levels were high throughout the day, with the pupils interested in the prototype robot and its remote control, and how they themselves can design and build similar robots. There were sporadic engagements with members of the general public visiting the Museum at the same time, who were more interested in the crystal radio receiver.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2018