The Idaho National Laboratory is developing a versatile micro-power sensor interface platform for periodic subsurface sensing of environmental variables important to waste disposal sites such as volumetric moisture, water potential, and temperature. The key characteristics of the platform architecture are that the platform is passive until externally energized—no internal power source is required—and that it communicates with a "reader" via short-range telemetry—no wires penetrate the subsurface. Other significant attributes include the potential for a long service life and a compact size that makes it well suited for retrofitting existing landfill structures. Functionally, the sensor package is “read” by a short-range induction coil that activates and powers the sensor platform as well as detects the sensor output via a radio frequency signal generated by the onboard programmable interface controller microchip. As a result, the platform has a functional subsurface communication range of approximately 10 to 12 ft. and can only accept sensors that require low power to operate.
Kunerth, Dennis C.; Svoboda, John M.; and Johnson, James T.
"INL Subsurface Wireless Sensor Platform,"
Proceedings of the Annual International Conference on Soils, Sediments, Water and Energy:
Vol. 11, Article 23.
Available at: http://scholarworks.umass.edu/soilsproceedings/vol11/iss1/23