Development of impedance spectroscopy based in-situ, self-calibrating, on-board wireless sensor with inbuilt metamaterial inspired small antenna for constituent detection in multi-phase mixtures like soil

by Gunjan Pandey

Institution: Iowa State University
Year: 2014
Keywords: Dielectric mixing model; Metamaterial; Precision agriculture; Radio Frequency; Spectroscopy; Electrical and Electronics; Engineering
Record ID: 2024606
Full text PDF: http://lib.dr.iastate.edu/etd/13687



Real time and accurate measurement of sub-surface soil moisture and nutrients is critical for agricultural and environmental studies. This work presents a novel on-board solution for a robust, accurate and self-calibrating soil moisture and nutrient sensor with inbuilt wireless transmission and reception capability that makes it ideally suited to act as a node in a network spread over a large area. The sensor works on the principle of soil impedance measurement by comparing the amplitude and phase of signals incident on and reflected from the soil in proximity of the sensor. The permittivity of the soil dielectric mixture which is calculated from these impedance measurements is used as input parameter to the dielectric mixing models which are used to estimate the ionic concentration in soil. The inbuilt wireless transceiver system is connected to a specially designed metamaterial inspired small antenna in order to reduce the sensor size while keeping the path losses to a minimum by using a low frequency. This composite right-left handed (CRLH) antenna for wireless transmission at 433 MHz doubles up as an underground, sensing element (external capacitor) and integrates with the on-board sensor for soil moisture and nutrient determination. The input impedance of the CRLH sensor, surrounded by the soil containing moisture and nutrient and other ions, is measured at multiple frequencies. It is shown that the change in moisture and ioinic-concentration can be successfully detected using the sensor. The inbuilt self-calibrating mechanism makes the sensor reliable at different environmental conditions and also useful for remote, underground and hand-held applications. A multi-power mode transceiver system has been designed to support the implementation of an energy efficient medium-access-control.