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Scientists find cheaper way to print RFID tags on paper

13 February 2012

RFID (Radio Frequency Identification) and NFC technology is taking off in a big way and there’s a wide variety of possibilities with the technology. RFID has been used everywhere from tagging cattle to products being sold in shopping marts. Now, NFC has taken off, with mobile phone manufacturers building devices with RFID and NFC readers into them.

The more complicated and more expensive part of the technology has been implementing RFID tags on products. There have been advancements in the field, where Camille Ramade, along with others at University of Montpellier in France have come with a technology that allows users to print RFID tags on paper. Adding tags has been expensive and the new technology should allow users to be able to print really thin layers of aluminum on paper.

The new technology promises to be a fraction of the cost than current method. A press release states that traditional ways of printing these antennas have been using processes, such as etching and electroplating for metal surfaces. Other processes such as screen printing and flexography have been used popular for other surfaces, such as paper.

The university has demonstrated a way where a processor thermal evaporation can be used to deposit a small quantity of aluminum on paper, which can be used as a RFID tag. Once printed on paper, the same can be used on paper stickers that can be applied to products with much ease. 

Many other tags use metals, such as copper and silver, which are more expensive than aluminum, which makes the new process affordable to use in large numbers. The current demonstration was using a prototype and the RFID tags are usable and are being read just fine using the readers. The team said that they would be working on optimizations to the system, so that performance can be improved further using the same affordable technology.

Once the technology matures and when large companies start showing interest in this project, one can hope that the same process can be repeated for NFC tags, which is currently being pushed by companies such as Nokia and Google.

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Access Control Systems using Power over Ethernet (PoE) Technology from Borer