Introducing flexible perovskites to the IoT world using photovoltaic-powered wireless tags

Billions of everyday objects could become part of the Internet of Things (IoT) by augmentation with low-cost, long-range, maintenance-free wireless sensors. Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) is a low-cost wireless technology that could enable this vision, but it is constrained by short communication range and lack of sufficient energy available to power auxiliary electronics and sensors. Here, we explore the use of flexible perovskite photovoltaic cells to provide external power to semi-passive RFID tags to increase range and energy availability for external electronics such as microcontrollers and digital sensors. Perovskites are intriguing materials that hold the possibility to develop high-performance, low-cost, optically tunable (to absorb different light spectra), and flexible light energy harvesters. Our prototype perovskite photovoltaic cells on plastic substrates have an efficiency of 13 testing conditions. We built prototypes of RFID sensors powered with these flexible photovoltaic cells to demonstrate real-world applications. Our evaluation of the prototypes suggests that: i) flexible PV cells are durable up to a bending radius of 5 mm with only a 20 RFID communication range increased by 5x, and meets the energy needs (10-350 microwatt) to enable self-powered wireless sensors; iii) perovskite powered wireless sensors enable many battery-less sensing applications (e.g., perishable good monitoring, warehouse automation)


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