Wireless Information and Power Transfer: Nonlinearity, Waveform Design, and Rate-Energy Tradeoff

Bruno Clerckx

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

130 Citations (Scopus)


The design of wireless information and power transfer (WIPT) has so far relied on an oversimplified and inaccurate linear model of the energy harvester. In this paper, we depart from this linear model and design WIPT considering the rectifier nonlinearity. We develop a tractable model of the rectifier nonlinearity that is flexible enough to cope with general multicarrier modulated input waveforms. Leveraging that model, we motivate and introduce a novel WIPT architecture relying on the superposition of multicarrier unmodulated and modulated waveforms at the transmitter. The superposed WIPT waveforms are optimized as a function of the channel state information so as to characterize the rate-energy region of the whole system. Analysis and numerical results illustrate the performance of the derived waveforms and WIPT architecture and highlight that nonlinearity radically changes the design of WIPT. We make key and refreshing observations. First, analysis (confirmed by circuit simulations) shows that modulated and unmodulated waveforms are not equally suitable for wireless power delivery, namely, modulation being beneficial in single-carrier transmissions but detrimental in multicarrier transmissions. Second, a multicarrier unmodulated waveform (superposed to a multicarrier modulated waveform) is useful to enlarge the rate-energy region of WIPT. Third, a combination of power splitting and time sharing is in general the best strategy. Fourth, a nonzero mean Gaussian input distribution outperforms the conventional capacity-Achieving zero-mean Gaussian input distribution in multicarrier transmissions. Fifth, the rectifier nonlinearity is beneficial to system performance and is essential to efficient WIPT design.

Original languageEnglish
Article number8115220
Pages (from-to)847-862
Number of pages16
JournalIEEE Transactions on Signal Processing
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2018 Feb 15


  • Nonlinearity
  • optimization
  • waveform
  • wireless information and power transfer
  • wireless power

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Signal Processing
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering


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