Researchers at North Carolina State University have manufactured what is believed to be the smallest state-of-the-art RFID chip, which is expected to lower the cost of RFID tags. In addition, the chip design allows RFID tags to be integrated into high-value chips, such as computer chips, enhancing supply chain security for high-end technologies.
“As far as we know, this is the world’s smallest Gen2-compatible RFID chip,” says Paul Franzon, corresponding author of a work article and Cirrus Logic professor emeritus of electrical and computer engineering at NC State.
Gen2 RFID chips are state of the art and are already widely used. One of the things that sets these new RFID chips apart is their size. They measure 125 micrometers (? M) by 245? M. Manufacturers were able to make smaller RFID chips using earlier technologies, but Franzon and colleagues were unable to identify smaller RFID chips compatible with current Gen2 technology.
“The size of an RFID tag is largely determined by the size of its antenna – not the RFID chip,” says Franzon. “But the chip is the most expensive part.”
The smaller the chip, the more chips you can get from a single wafer of silicon. And the more chips you can get from the silicon wafer, the cheaper they are.
“Concretely, this means that we can manufacture RFID tags for less than a cent each if we manufacture them in volume,” says Franzon.
This allows manufacturers, distributors or retailers to use RFID tags to track items at a lower cost. For example, labels could be used to track all products in a grocery store without requiring employees to scan the items individually.
“Another advantage is that the circuit design we used here is compatible with a wide range of semiconductor technologies, such as those used in conventional computer chips,” says Kirti Bhanushali, who worked on the project in as a Ph.D. student at NC State and is the first author of the article. “This allows RFID tags to be incorporated into computer chips, allowing users to track individual chips throughout their lifecycle. This could help reduce counterfeiting and allow you to verify that a component is what it is. ‘he says to be. “
“We have demonstrated what is possible and we know that these chips can be manufactured using existing manufacturing technologies,” says Franzon. “We now wish to work with industry partners to explore commercialization of the chip in two ways: by creating low-cost, large-scale RFID for use in industries such as grocery stores; and embedding RFID tags in computer chips to ensure high value. supply chains. “
The document “A 125 µm × 245 µm predominantly digital UHF EPC Gen2 compatible RFID tag in 55nm CMOS process” was presented on April 29 at the IEEE International RFID Conference. The article was co-authored by Wenxu Zhao, who worked on the project as a doctoral student. student at NC State; and Shepherd Pitts, who worked on the project while he was an assistant research professor at NC State.
The work was carried out with support from the National Science Foundation, under grant 1422172; and the NC State Chancellor’s Innovation Fund.
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