Holst Centre Creates 128 Bit Organic RFID Transponder Chip

At this week’s International Solid State Circuit Conference, Holst Centre – founded by the Belgian nanoelectronics research center IMEC and the Dutch research center TNO – presents world’s first 128 bit organic RFID transponder chip with Manchester encoding, anti-collision protocol and record high data rate. The reported RFID transponder chip is a major step towards the application of organic RFID tags in electronic product coding (EPC).

Holst Centre's 128 bit RFID transponder foilState-of-the-art organic RFID transponder chips do not yet meet the specifications of EPC, which is one of the major target applications. However, with a record data rate of 2kb/s, Manchester encoded data, the implementation of ALOHA anti-collision protocol to enable readout of multiple organic RFID tags, a ROM memory capacity of 128 bit and additional WORM (write-once read-many-times) memory, Holst Centre’s RFID research demonstrator chip approaches EPC application.

The organic 128b transponder chip is fabricated on a 25µm thin plastic substrate using organic bottom-gate thin-film transistors. The design of the chip was limited to p-type only logic. The chip requires a supply voltage of 20V to 24V which can be generated on a tag equipped with a plastic double half-wave rectifier and an antenna of 6 to 7 windings.

The transponder chip contains a 33-stage ring oscillator which generates the clock signal. The clock signal drives the output register, the 3 bit binary counter and the 16 bit line-select. The 16 bit line-select chooses a row in the code. A bit in this row is selected by the 8:1 multiplexer, driven by the 3 bit binary counter. This bit is transported to the output register, which sends the bit to the Manchester encoder. The latter encodes the data and sends it to the load modulator of the plastic RFID tag. To enable the readout of multiple organic RFID tags at once, the ALOHA basic anti-collision protocol (tag-talks-first protocol) is added to the chip.

The work was done within the framework of the Holst Centre research program on organic circuitry, in close collaboration between IMEC Leuven and TNO Eindhoven.

About Holst Centre
Holst Centre is an independent open-innovation R&D centre that develops generic technologies for Wireless Autonomous Transducer Solutions and for Systems-in-Foil. A key feature of Holst Centre is its partnership model with industry and academia around shared roadmaps and programs. It is this kind of cross-fertilization that enables Holst Centre to tune its scientific strategy to industrial needs. Holst Centre was set up in 2005 by IMEC (Flanders, Belgium) and TNO (The Netherlands) with support from the Dutch Ministry of Economic Affairs and the Government of Flanders. It is named after Gilles Holst, a Dutch pioneer in Research and Development and first director of Philips Research. Located on the High Tech Campus in Eindhoven, Holst Centre benefits from the state-of-the-art on-site facilities. Holst Centre has over 140 employees from 25 nationalities and a commitment from over 20 industrial partners.

About IMEC
IMEC is a world-leading independent research center in nanoelectronics and nanotechnology. IMEC vzw is headquartered in Leuven, Belgium, has a sister company in the Netherlands, IMEC-NL, offices in the US, China and Taiwan, and representatives in Japan. Its staff of more than 1750 people includes about 600 industrial residents and guest researchers. In 2008, its revenue (P&L) was estimated to EUR 264 million. IMEC’s More Moore research aims at semiconductor scaling towards sub-32nm nodes. With its More than Moore research, IMEC looks into technologies for nomadic embedded systems, wireless autonomous transducer solutions, biomedical electronics, photovoltaics, organic electronics and GaN power electronics. IMEC’s research bridges the gap between fundamental research at universities and technology development in industry. Its unique balance of processing and system know-how, intellectual property portfolio, state-of-the-art infrastructure and its strong network worldwide position IMEC as a key partner for shaping technologies for future systems.