[CEATEC] Murata Develops RFID IC Free from Connection with External Antenna

Oct 4, 2007
Mayuko Uno, Nikkei Electronics
The Magic Strap RFID IC on display: RFID tags are reportedly referred to as "straps" outside Japan. Initially, the product will be targeted for use in distribution bases. The company expects that demand in the retail market will increase. Thus, the cost reduction of the IC chip itself is likely to be a future issue.
The Magic Strap RFID IC on display: RFID tags are reportedly referred to as "straps" outside Japan. Initially, the product will be targeted for use in distribution bases. The company expects that demand in the retail market will increase. Thus, the cost reduction of the IC chip itself is likely to be a future issue.
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Murata Manufacturing Co. Ltd. developed the Magic Strap, an RFID IC that can be used without being electrically connected with an external antenna.

An RFID tag can be created simply by attaching the IC to an external antenna with common insulating adhesive, etc. A built-in antenna used for the communication in an extremely short range is provided on a substrate of the package sealing the IC, and this antenna establishes wireless communications with the external antenna. Thus, the external antenna and the IC are not required to be electrically connected with each other.

The prototype IC is on display at CEATEC Japan 2007, which runs from Oct. 2 to 6, 2007, where Murata is performing demonstrations using the prototype.

The latest IC is operable on a frequency band at 820-980 MHz, hence supporting all the frequency bands used for the RFID application in Europe, United States and Japan. The existing RFID ICs must be installed in different positions on the external antenna in order to support different frequency bands.

The new IC, however, eliminates the need for changing the installation position because the applicable frequency band is wider. According to the company, the latest IC also prevents a problem of reduction in the read-out distance due to the deviation of the center frequency caused by attaching the tag on a dielectric material such as a container made of polypropylene.

In addition, the IC reportedly contributes to the reduction of the assembly cost of RFID tag because the positional accuracy between the IC and the external antenna may be on the order of only several millimeters. The existing products have a problem of high assembly cost due to the conductive adhesive used to connect the IC with the antenna, and the positional accuracy that has to be on the order of several microns.

The prototype RFID IC measures 3.2 x 1.6 x 0.5 mm. The minimum drive voltage ranges from 3 to 5 dBm. Customers do not have to worry about matching the impedance because the IC package substrate matches the impedance between the IC and the antenna, the company said.

Initially, Murata is preparing to mass produce one model, the so-called 3216-size product, which is similar to the prototype. The company intends to further reduce the size and cost, aiming for volume production from January 2008.