Design of a CMOS System-on-Chip for Passive, Near-Field Ultrasonic Energy Harvesting and Back-Telemetry

Tao Feng, Nizar Lajnef, Shantanu Chakrabartty

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Scopus citations


Many packaging and structural materials are made of conductive materials such as metal or carbon-fiber composites, which limits the use of embedded radio frequency-based telemetry systems for sensing. In this paper, we present the design of a complete passive ultrasonic energy harvesting and back-telemetry system that exploits near-field acoustic coupling to wirelessly transfer energy and data across conductive barriers. The use of near-field operation makes the telemetry robust to multipath reflections that occur at barrier discontinuities and robust to crosstalk when multiple sensors are simultaneously interrogated. Underlying the proposed architecture is a system-on-chip (SoC) that integrates different ultrasonic energy harvesting and telemetry modules. The operation of the system has been verified using SoC prototypes fabricated in a 0.5- μ text{m} CMOS process which have been integrated with a piezoelectric transducer attached to an aerospace-grade aluminum substrate. Measured results show that the proposed near-field ultrasonic telemetry system can effectively operate across a 2-mm-thick metallic barrier at a frequency of 13.56 MHz with the SoC consuming 22.3 μW of power.

Original languageEnglish
Article number7052324
Pages (from-to)544-554
Number of pages11
JournalIEEE Transactions on Very Large Scale Integration (VLSI) Systems
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 2016


  • Energy scavenging
  • Mason model
  • near-field back-telemetry
  • structural health monitoring
  • ultrasonic communication.


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