Design and Investigation of RFID Technology Based Smart Shelves

  • Zheng Li

Student thesis: Phd


The name of this thesis is Design and Investigation of RFID Technology Based Smart Shelves which is written by Zheng Li in University of Manchester for his research of DOCTOR of PHILOSOPHY at the 3rd on October, 2016.Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) has a great capability of the real-time item tracking under non-line-of-sight conditions and brings a huge revaluation to the logistics and storage industry. Meanwhile, the technology of energy harvesting sensor shows the extraordinary flexibility, mobility and eternal lifetime in theory, which makes it suitable for various applications. Nevertheless, the RFID technology lacks multiple information collection capabilities except ID tracking, and the energy harvesting sensor cannot track the item. Therefore, the combination of two technologies has a complementary advantage, which generated the idea of RFID technology based smart shelf. Smart shelf uses RFID communication standards to detect items, to the power RFID energy harvesting sensor and communicate. Many tag detection measurements during the course of the study reveal that conventional near-field antenna cannot meet the requirements of the coverage area and distance. Besides, the RF polarisation is another limitation in the smart shelf application. For the best performance of smart shelf, RF power should be well distributed in the space of shelf. Besides, full polarisation and RF radiation coverage over a distance across the shelf is critical to the work in this thesis. Thus, several linear far-field antennas, such as long wire antenna and sleeve slot dipole antenna have been studied. Simulation and on-shelf measurement show the collinear coaxial cable (CoCo) antenna is the best choice for the smart shelf. It has near-field and far-field radiation ability and great modification flexibility. Each conjunction of CoCo antenna can be seen as a radiation node. Its radiation distribution and polarisations can be controlled by arranging those nodes placement in the shelf. After many tests, a meander antenna configuration has been found to have 100% success rate of food item detection in any polarisation and overcomes the weakness RF radiation attenuation in a complex and high permittivity environment. Moreover, a RFID energy harvesting sensor that has two new designed mutual embedded meander line folded antenna has been developed and fabricated for testing the performance of smart shelf ."The research has demonstrated the feasibility of RFID-based smart shelf sensing and associated energy harvesting technology. The measurements show the sensor can collect temperature data at almost any place of the smart shelf and proves RFID-based smart shelf sensing can well perform by integrating two technologies into a RFID system. 
Date of Award31 Dec 2016
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • The University of Manchester
SupervisorZhipeng Wu (Supervisor) & Zhirun Hu (Supervisor)


  • RF energy harvesting sensor
  • Smart Shelf
  • Radio Frequency Identification (RFID

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