LONDON — Scientists at Philips Research have created a fully functional 13.56-MHz radio frequency identification (RFID) tag based entirely on plastic electronics. In contrast to conventional silicon-chip-based RFID tags, a plastic electronics RFID chip can be printed directly onto a plastic substrate along with an antenna without involving complex assembly steps, Philips Research said in a statement.
The performance details of the circuit is due to presented at this year’s International Solid-State Circuits Conference, being held Feb. 5 to Feb. 9 in San Francisco, California, in a paper that is set to be awarded the conference’s Beatrice Winner Award for Editorial Excellence.
The development of plastic RFID tags could replace barcodes, which require optical reading by line-of-sight systems with package-specific and item-level identification codes that can be read wirelessly.
Philips (Eindhoven, The Netherlands) said it has now realized the first plastic-electronics-based tag that is capable of transmitting multi-bit digital identification codes at 13.56 MHz — the dominant industry-standard radio frequency for RFID tag applications. As an additional demonstration of the usefulness of the technology, Philips Research scientists have developed a 64-bit code generator, showing the practicality of building plastic electronic circuits with the complexity required for item-level tagging.
Plastic-electronics-based RFID tags have the potential to be manufactured via reel-to-reel and other in-line processing techniques, which should be considerably less cost than silicon processing.
“The realization of plastic RFID tags that operate at 13.56 MHz is a precursor for wide-scale market acceptance in the coming years,” said Leo Warmerdam, senior director at Philips Research, in a statement. “To speed up commercialization of our technology we will explore co-development options with third parties,” he added.