Exploitation of Transparent Conductive Oxides in the Implementation of a Window-Integrated Wireless Sensor Node

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    Exploitation of transparent conductive oxides (TCOs) to implement an energy-autonomous sensor node for a wireless sensor network is studied and a practical solution presented. In the practical implementations, flexible and rigid substrates, i.e., polyimide and glass, are coated with TCO, namely, aluminum-doped zinc oxide (AZO). AZO-coated flexible substrates are used to form thermoelectric generators (TEGs) that produce electricity for the sensor electronics of the node from thermal gradients on a window. As the second solution to utilize AZO, its conductive properties are exploited to implement transparent antennas for the sensor node. Antennas for a UHF RFID transponder and the Bluetooth radio of the node are implemented. A prototype of a flexible transparent TEG, with the area of 67 cm² when folded, was measured to produce power of 1.6μW with a temperature difference of 43 K. A radiation efficiency of -9.1 dB was measured for the transparent RFID antenna prototype with the center frequency of 900 MHz. Radiation efficiencies between -3.8 and -0.4 dB, depending on the substrate, were obtained for the 2.45 GHz Bluetooth antenna.
    Original languageEnglish
    Article number8401879
    Pages (from-to)7193-7202
    JournalIEEE Sensors Journal
    Issue number17
    Publication statusPublished - 1 Sept 2018
    MoE publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed


    This work was supported in part by the European Union's Horizon 2020 Research and Innovation Program 2014-2018 as part of the TransFlexTeg Project under Grant 645241 and in part by the VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland Ltd.


    • Aluminum doped zinc oxide (AZO)
    • Bluetooth
    • energy harvesting
    • internet of things (IoT)
    • thermal gradient
    • thermoelectric generator (TEG)
    • thin-film
    • transparent antennas
    • transparent conductive oxide (TCO)
    • UHF RFID
    • wireless sensor network (WSN)
    • OtaNano


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