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December 27, 2016

RFID tags smaller with new technique

Image showing the layout of radio-frequency identification (RFID) tags developed by engineering researchers at North Carolina State University. Because the RFID tags no longer need to convert alternating current (AC) to direct current (DC) in order for the tags to function effectively, they are 25 percent smaller--and therefore less expensive.

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In passive RFID technology, a "reader" transmits a radio signal that is picked up by the RFID tag. The tag converts the AC of the radio signal into DC in order to power internal circuits. Those circuits control the signal that is bounced back to the reader. Passive RFID technology is used in everything from parking passes to merchandise and asset tracking. For example, passive RFID is the technology that tells a traffic barrier to lift when you wave a parking pass in front of the scanner.

The research was supported in part by the National Science Foundation (grant CCF 14-22172).

To learn more, see the NSF News From the Field story New techniques make RFID tags 25 percent smaller. (Date image taken: February 2016; date originally posted to NSF Multimedia Gallery: Dec. 27, 2016)

Credit: Wenxu Zhao, ECE Department, NC State University

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