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This course addresses antenna and communication aspects of Wireless Communication Networks and Energy Harvesting and is developed under the framework of the European School of Antennas in collaboration with COST ACTION IC1301 (

Wireless Communication Networks are evolving towards heterogeneous and complex systems requiring large information processing capability, ubiquities and constant communication. Hence, traditional Wireless Sensor Networks (WSN) and Mobile Cellular Networks are evolving towards hybrid systems sharing common paradigms. In this course we focus on techniques that are to play an important role in the future of Wireless Networks. Although energy efficiency and power savings have always been present in the design of wireless communication systems, they have become one of the main drivers for research in WSN and Heterogeneous network devices.


In this course we will first provide an overview of energy harvesting techniques for autonomous devices, with the aim of providing an understanding of the HW technologies and RF aspects involved. This first block includes both theoretical and practical exercises: it will provide theoretical principles of wireless power transfer technologies, signal optimization and rectenna design for electromagnetic energy harvesting and wireless power transfer and practical exercises (rectenna design project).


The second part of the course deals with communication and information processing techniques that not only address energy efficiency but capacity and reliability issues. In this context, the course focuses on cooperative and distributed techniques with emphasis on coding schemes. Cooperative communications have proven to improve the capacity of wireless communications by allowing cooperation between devices at the physical layer level. Coding, present in all modern communication systems, provides reliability and implicitly energy savings by reducing transmission failures. In the same way reducing collisions in multiple access channels benefit energy efficiency. The objective of this course is to provide the fundamental tools to understand, analyse, and design cooperative communications systems and distributed information processing in general, and WSN in particular. The course will also provide a theoretical framework to understand the principles of suitable communication strategies and other relevant aspects of the communication system design in the presence of power-limited/energy-harvesting devices.

The lectures will cover the following areas:


First block: RF aspects

  1. Energy harvesting and wireless power transfer for autonomous devices (sensors): Review of energy harvesting technologies. Challenges and recent developments demonstrating wireless sensors circuits operating without a battery are presented. Examples include solar energy assisted RFID tags, solar powered active antennas, passive antenna based sensors, wireless powering of consumer electronics. The principles of wireless power transfer technologies from near-field to far-field are presented.
  2. Signal optimization and rectenna design for electromagnetic energy harvesting and wireless power transfer. Rectenna design methodologies, state-of-the-art, challenges and novel research directions are presented. Wideband and multi-band rectenna designs are presented. Investigation of different signal waveforms such as multi-tone signals, noise and chaotic signals and their effect on the wireless power transfer efficiency is discussed. Simultaneous wireless power and information transfer will be considered with emphasis on backscatter radio design and combined ultra wideband (UWB) radio and UHF RFID.


Second block: Information processing aspects

  1. Background material: Basics on communication theory, multiuser information theory and coding
  2. Distributed information processing and Coding: Advances on cooperation techniques and distributed information processing will be presented. Special emphasis will be given to coded systems analysing techniques such as physical layer network coding for wireless transmissions. Design of energy management policies for EH communication systems, description of analytical models.


Practical exercises:

Rectenna design student design project contest. As part of the assignment, students are required to develop a complete rectenna design including an antenna and rectifier circuit, based on a defined set of specifications. The work will be carried out in small groups.





Laboratory, computer exercises and personal work



Assessment typology


16 h

12 h



Attendance and assignment


Course organizers:

Dr. Monica Navarro

Dr. Apostolos Georgiadis



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