Towards battery-free and low-cost distributed sensor node: from novel IC approaches to system-level industrial design

Content of the lecture:

The vision of a world where pervasive integrated electronic systems are fully interconnected to collect, process, and exchange information leads to a significant growth trend in the global smart sensor market. However, powering Internet of Things (IoT) infrastructures of one trillion nodes with batteries poses considerable maintenance and management costs. In the framework of this increasing trend, this tutorial will highlight innovative circuital and systems-level strategies and techniques to drastically reduce power consumption and build battery-less and energy-autonomous electronic devices.
The first part of the tutorial focuses on the low-cost and low-power consumption requirements for energy-efficient IC design. These demand a small area, low design effort, digital-like shrinkage across CMOS generations, and design/technology portability. Moreover, the possibility to exploit the digital (automated) design flow even for analog building blocks can dramatically reduce the design effort of any system-on-chip enabling aggressively supply-voltage scaled and/or regulator-less building blocks that can be powered directly from energy harvesters.
The second part of the tutorial will show a system-level industrial overview. In particular, it explores the research progress in sustainable wireless sensor nodes that require minimal or no maintenance. Additionally, how RF power transfer (WPT) can be a convenient way to remotely power wireless nodes, especially if installed in hard-to-reach places, will be shown.

Teacher: Dr. Roberto La Rosa

Roberto La Rosa is an IC Mixed Signal Senior Principal Designer at STMicroelectronics. Since joining STMicroelectronics in 1997, he has held a variety of assignments, including the design of high-frequency PLLs for clock generation and recovery, fiber-optic transceiver and system design, power management ICs, and other analog, digital, and mixed-signal bipolar and CMOS circuit development projects. He is also an expert in very high-frequency power conversion.
He is currently a Research Senior Staff Member at STMicroelectronics Catania. His present research interests include ultra-low-power applications, over-the-distance power transmission, Wireless Power Transfer, Energy Harvesting, and Very High Frequency Power Conversion.
Roberto La Rosa received his PhD in Electrical Engineering from the École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne in 2022 and was awarded the Thomas Gessner Award for his PhD thesis.
His research interests include ultra-low-power applications, Wireless Power Transfer, and Energy Harvesting. Dr. La Rosa has been an advisor of 10+ MSc dissertations. He has published more than 30+ scientific papers on Energy Harvesting and Wireless Power Transfer and holds +20 patents. He is an Associate Editor of the journal IEEE Transactions on AgriFood Electronics.