The incorporation of cognitive radio (CR) capability in wireless sensor networks yields a promising network paradigm known as CR sensor networks (CRSNs), which is able to provide spectrum efficient data communication. However, due to the high energy consumption results from spectrum sensing, as well as subsequent data transmission, the energy supply for the conventional sensor nodes powered by batteries is regarded as a severe bottleneck for sustainable operation. The energy harvesting technique, which gathers energy from the ambient environment, is regarded as a promising solution to perpetually power-up energy-limited devices with a continual source of energy. Therefore, applying the energy harvesting (EH) technique in CRSNs is able to facilitate the self-sustainability of the energy-limited sensors. The primary concern of this study is to design sensing-transmission policies to minimize the long-term outage probability of EH-powered CR sensor nodes. We formulate this problem as an infinite-horizon discounted Markov decision process and propose an ϵ
-optimal sensing-transmission (ST) policy through using the value iteration algorithm. ϵ
is the error bound between the ST policy and the optimal policy, which can be pre-defined according to the actual need. Moreover, for a special case that the signal-to-noise (SNR) power ratio is sufficiently high, we present an efficient transmission (ET) policy and prove that the ET policy achieves the same performance with the ST policy. Finally, extensive simulations are conducted to evaluate the performance of the proposed policies and the impaction of various network parameters.
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