Electronic Design

CMOS Chip Will Enable Low-Cost RFID Reader/Writer Modules

Despite their popularity, RFID systems are not yet as widely adopted as they could be due to their high costs. Conventional reader modules cost a few thousand dollars, measure about 6 by 6 in., weigh 1 to 2 kg, consume about 10 W, and are built using discrete components. To address these issues, researchers at the Institute of Microelectronics (IME) have integrated all the discrete components required for the rf section of the reader module onto a single piece of silicon. The result is a highly integrated 0.18-µm rf CMOS reader IC that can bring down the cost of an RFID reader to below $100.

The bulky conventional reader module is also reduced to a small, name card-size module weighing less than 100 g and consuming less than a watt. The reader IC is programmable from 860 to 960 MHz, which allows coverage in Asia, Europe, and the US. A patent has been filed for the rf CMOS reader. Together with its industry partner SmartID Technology Pte Ltd, IME has demonstrated a module with commercially available UHF RFID tags. IME's chip is also being sampled to selected customers.

IME is a research institute of A*STAR. SmartID is a leading player in providing UHF RFID reader solutions with deployments in logistics supply chain management and intelligent access control. For more information, check out www.ime.a-star.edu.sg.

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