A new electrically small antenna with size ka = 0.415 is presented, fabricated and measured in this work. This is intrinsically matched to 50 Ω, has omni-directional and linear-polarized radiation pattern in the horizontal plane with maximum directivity of 1.75 dBi and simulated radiation efficiency of 93%. The antenna in combination with a low-complex and co-planar rectifier with one single diode forms a high efficient and sensitive electrically small rectenna with ka = 0.53 at 868 MHz (UHF RFID-band in Europe). The latter has measured efficiency 22.5% for −19 dBm power input and sensitivity of −44 dBm (or equivalently 0.00028 μW/cm2 power density), while at 2.25 μW/cm2 is able to supply continuously, i.e., without a boost converter or use of any energy tank, a small electrical device with 118 μW. In order to increase the dc output voltage and the delivered dc power to the load for lower power density levels, rectenna-array configuration is exploited. Application to batteryless, backscatter wireless sensor node powering is discussed. Specifically, for a power density of 0.1237 μW/cm2 the RF energy harvesting system delivers 172 μW at 2.85 V every 22.5 s.
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