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Application and Development of Key Technologies of RFID Electronic Labels

Starting from the basic principle of RFID, this paper introduces the key technologies of electronic tag, including chip, antenna design, packaging and application of tag technology. According to the design hotspots and the research status at home and abroad, this paper summarizes the development trend of RFID electronic labels, and puts forward the basic countermeasures for the current application and development of RFID electronic labels in China.

20230115102328 62934 - Application and Development of Key Technologies of RFID Electronic Labels

What is RFID?

RFID is the general name of radio frequency identification technology. It is the same as other identification methods such as barcode and IC card. Its basic function is to identify the unique identifier (UID) of the target item. The difference is that it uses radio frequency transmission to complete non-contact automatic identification and realize the identification of moving targets and multiple targets. RFID is also a data communication technology. It has the basic functions of the basic components of the communication system, such as sending, receiving, channel and transmitting information. The difference is that the information it transmits is artificial and fixed. With its advantages and development potential of large storage capacity, multiple recognition targets, long reading distance, and data encryption, RFID is known as one of the most important technologies today. The key to the application and development of RFID system is electronic tag. This paper focuses on the key technology of RFID electronic tag and the research status at home and abroad, and puts forward the basic countermeasures for the application and development of electronic tag in China at this stage.

1. Electronic label technology and research status at home and abroad

In the domestic and foreign research literature, the current research on electronic tags mainly focuses on the following six aspects.

1.1 Chip technology

Chip technology is a core technology in RFID technology. A tag chip is a system, which integrates all circuits except tag antenna and matching line, including RF front-end, analog front-end, digital baseband and memory unit and other modules. The basic requirements for chips are light, thin, small, low and cheap.
In foreign countries, integrated circuit manufacturers such as TI, Intel, Philips, ST Micro electronics, Infineon, NXP, Atmel have made outstanding achievements in developing RFID chips with small size, low power consumption and low price. For example, the minimum RF input power of UHF passive tag developed by Atmel can be as low as 16.7 μW. The Swiss Federal Institute of Technology has designed a model with a minimum input power of only 2.7 μ W, 2.45GB tag chip with reading and writing distance up to 12m. At the 2006 ISSCC meeting, Hitachi Japan proposed a product with an area of 0.15mm × 0.15 mm, thickness only 7.5 μM tag chip. In China, Chinese integrated circuit manufacturers have been able to develop and produce low frequency and high frequency band chips by themselves, which are close to the international advanced level. The UHF band QR series chips developed by Shanghai Kunrui Company have passed the official authorization certification of EPCglobal. In general, the design of UHF and microwave band RFID chips in China still faces huge challenges, mainly in the harsh power consumption limit. Adaptation technology with antenna. Subsequent packaging problems. Sensitivity. Reliability and cost.
The development trend of RFID chip design and manufacturing technology is that the chip power consumption is lower, the action distance is longer, the reading and writing speed is faster, the reliability is higher, and the cost is continuously reduced. In addition to increasing the storage capacity of the tag to carry more information, reducing the size of the tag to reduce costs, and improving the sensitivity of the tag to increase the reading distance, the current research focus also includes: ultra-low power circuit; Security and privacy technology, password function and implementation; Low-cost chip design and manufacturing technology; New storage technology; Anti-collision algorithm and implementation technology; Integration technology with sensors; The overall solution closely integrated with the application system.

1.2 Antenna design technology

In the design of RFID tag antenna, miniaturization has always been a concern. In order to expand the application range, the miniaturized antenna bandwidth and gain characteristics and cross-polarization characteristics are also important research directions. At present, RFID tags still use off-chip independent antennas, which have the advantages of high Q value, easy to manufacture and moderate cost, but large size and easy to break, and are not competent for anti-counterfeiting or implanting in animals in the form of biological tags. If the antenna can be integrated on the tag chip, it can work without any external devices, which can reduce the volume of the entire tag, simplify the tag manufacturing process and reduce the cost, which has triggered the research of antenna on chip technology. In addition, at present, the focus of tag antenna research also includes antenna matching technology, structure optimization technology, broadband antenna design covering multiple frequency bands, multi-tag antenna optimization distribution technology, anti-metal design technology, consistency and anti-interference technology, etc.

1.3 Packaging technology

The packaging of electronic labels mainly includes chip assembly, antenna manufacturing and other major links. With the development of new packaging technology, new processing technologies have emerged in label packaging technology, such as bump generation of flip chip, antenna printing, etc. Compared with traditional wire connection or carrier connection, flip chip technology has the advantages of high packaging density, good electrical and thermal performance, good reliability and low cost. Using conductive ink to print label antenna instead of traditional etching method to make label antenna greatly reduces the production cost of electronic label. In addition, the research focus of label packaging technology also includes low-temperature hot-pressing packaging technology, precision mechanism design optimization, multi-physics detection and control, high-precision high-speed motion control, online detection technology, etc.

1.4 Label application technology

Based on the unique characteristics of RFID tags for object identification, a research upsurge of various functional tags has been triggered. In addition to the traditional identification, tracking and monitoring of items, research hotspots also include interactive smart tags, spatial positioning and tracking, pervasive computing, mobile payment, item anti-counterfeiting, etc.

  • (1) Interactive smart tags. The structure of the interactive smart tag is still composed of a single chip wireless micro-power transceiver and a single chip computer. Write various required application programs in advance in the single chip computer, and call these programs through wireless instructions when necessary, so that the label can perform all kinds of work required by Internet of Things applications, including identification, positioning, data collection, etc. The tag does not transmit any signals outward at ordinary times, but periodically receives and records the signals sent by the coordinator in broadcast mode on the monitoring channel at regular intervals as required. Only after receiving the wake-up command can it jump to the working channel of the reader and writer, receive the command from the coordinator, and enter the state of information exchange with the reader and writer according to the pre-written program according to the command, and complete the specified work task within the specified time, Return to monitor and sleep. It can be seen that the core of this technology is to achieve ultra-low power wireless long-distance transmission of tags by rapidly filtering invalid signals, at the cost of using an additional coordinator. Because the interactive smart tag solves the key problems of low cost, low power consumption and wireless remote transmission in the application of the Internet of Things, it expands the application scope of the electronic tag, and can be widely used in urban intelligent transportation system, urban basic data acquisition system and other fields that require remote identification, positioning or data acquisition.
  • (2) Real-time positioning and tracking of tags. The existing positioning systems mainly include satellite positioning system, infrared or ultrasonic positioning system and positioning system based on mobile network. However, due to the limitations of positioning time, positioning accuracy and environmental conditions, there is no positioning technology that can better solve such problems as airport hall, exhibition hall, warehouse, supermarket, library, underground parking lot The problem of location information of facilities and objects in complex indoor environment such as underground mines. RFID technology provides a new solution for space positioning and tracking services, especially for indoor positioning, which is difficult for satellite positioning systems to cope with. It mainly uses the unique identification characteristics of the tag to the object, and measures the spatial position of the object according to the signal strength of the radio frequency communication between the reader and the tag installed on the object.
  • (3) Universal computing label. By combining with sensor technology, RFID tags can also sense the temperature, humidity, illumination and other status information of the object or environment at the node of the Internet of Things, and use wireless communication technology to transmit these information and its changes to the computing unit, improve the visibility of the environment to the computing module, and build the infrastructure of future pervasive computing.
  • (4) Mobile payment tag. RFID mobile payment can be transacted through short-range communication between mobile phone terminal and POS terminal. It can not only pay the transaction amount by mobile phone charge, but also bind the bank account with SIM card to process the transaction by the bank. RFID mobile payment is the product of the integration of RFID industry and telecommunications industry. At present, there are four main application modes: Felica, NFC, DISIM and RF-SIM. Among them, RF-SIM is a short-range wireless communication technology based on SIM card. RF module is embedded in SIM card. SIM card is used for normal mobile communication, authentication and physical connection with mobile phone. The RF-SIM card supports all mobile phones on the market and is a comprehensive service platform that can replace wallets, keys and ID cards.
  • (5) Anti-counterfeit label. Traditional anti-counterfeiting technologies, such as physical anti-counterfeiting, biological anti-counterfeiting, structural anti-counterfeiting, bar code and digital anti-counterfeiting, cannot play a real anti-counterfeiting role because they are not unique and exclusive. RFID technology has the absolute advantage of anti-counterfeiting, because each label has a unique ID number in the world, which cannot be modified and copied. In addition, RFID anti-counterfeiting technology also has the characteristics of no physical wear, high security of the physical interface of the reader and writer, encryption of the tag data, mutual authentication between the reader and the writer, etc., so it can not be completely copied, thus preventing forgery. At present, RFID anti-counterfeiting has been gradually applied in the fields of document management, ticket management, electronic license plate, alcohol anti-counterfeiting, art treasures anti-counterfeiting, and is expanding.

1.5 Research on standard issues

At present, the international communication standards related to electronic labels mainly include:

  • (1) ISO/IEC18000 standard.
  • (2) EPC standard.
  • (3) DSRC standard.
  • (4) UID standard.

In addition, many countries and institutions are actively developing regional, national or industrial alliance standards related to RFID, and hope to upgrade to international standards through different channels. Each standard system is divided into several parts according to the working frequency. The main differences between them are communication mode, anti-collision protocol and data format. In January 2008, the FP7 project team of the European Union funded and sponsored the Global RFID Universal Standards Forum (GRIFS), aiming to achieve the maximum consistency of RFID standards in the world by strengthening cooperation. With the development of RFID technology, there is a trend of convergence of various standards of electronic labels. For example, the ISO/IEC15693 standard for high frequency 13.56MHz has become a part of the ISO18000-3 standard, and the EPCGEN2 standard has also become the ISO18000-6C standard. At present, the United States, the European Union and other countries have adopted their own different standards. Because of the difficulty in coordinating interests, the unification of standards is urgent, but the process is still relatively long.

1.6 Research on security and privacy issues

The security mechanisms studied and adopted mainly include physical methods, cryptographic mechanisms and their combination. Physical methods are usually used in low-cost labels to protect label information through electrostatic shielding or active interference. Compared with the hardware security mechanism based on physical methods, the software security mechanism based on cryptographic technology is more popular. It mainly uses various mature cryptographic schemes and mechanisms to design cryptographic protocols that meet the security requirements of RFID.

2. Development trend and countermeasures of electronic labels

The application and development of electronic labels are based on the development of RFID industry chain. Any backward link will affect the development of the entire industry. China lags behind countries such as Europe, America, South Korea and Japan in the research and development time in the RFID field, and lacks a complete industrial chain in the UHF and microwave frequency bands. To develop China’s electronic labels based on the existing technology and market of RFID in China, we must aim at the entire RFID industrial chain and formulate specific measures and strategies.

  • (1) Increase research and development efforts and seek technical breakthroughs. At present, electronic tags still have many defects, such as the low reading reliability of single tag due to the directionality of the antenna, which is easy to cause missing reading, the radio frequency identification signal is easy to be affected by conductive substances such as metal and water, and the recognition distance is reduced, and the RFID system and other wireless communication systems with close frequency band may produce electromagnetic interference when working at the same time, which may affect the performance of each other When a large number of RFID tags are placed together, the array effect of tag antenna may show different characteristics from that of a single tag antenna, which poses a challenge to the development of electronic tags.
  • (2) Formulate relevant standards for electronic labels as soon as possible.
  • (3) Find the breakthrough of application and improve the application scale of the industry. Because the application of RFID electronic labels in China is still relatively scattered, many enterprises even stay at the surface, with simple business processes, simple logic, lack of integration of back-end systems, and have not really played the role of electronic labels in supply chain management and enterprise information construction. Therefore, how to integrate RFID with existing enterprise information systems such as ERP, SCM, MIS, etc., innovate business processes, give full play to the advantages of electronic labels, improve the scale of industrial applications, and form a complete industrial chain is an urgent problem to be solved.
  • (4) Strengthen technology integration and realize cross-regional and cross-industry applications. With the development and expansion of RFID, it has been applied in the fields of Expo ticket management, intelligent transportation, logistics, food safety, commodity anti-counterfeiting, electricity, etc. in recent years. China’s RFID industry has shifted from government demand to market demand. In the process of RFID development, we should not only see the development potential of the RFID industry, but also see the problems in this development process, and use more scientific methods to continuously deepen the application of RFID, so as to promote the development of the domestic RFID industry.

3. Conclusion

This paper describes the basic functions, advantages and development trend of RFID. It also introduces the key technologies of electronic labels, and analyzes and studies the standards and security and privacy issues at home and abroad. Finally, the paper puts forward the basic policies and development trends for the application and development of electronic labels at the current stage in China. This has played a key role in the development of RFID.

Author: Li Xiangjun, Guo Guanqi

SourceChina Electronic Tags Manufacturer – Actility Technologies Company Limited (www.tractility.com)

Actility provides powerful security solutions for retail store management to prevent asset and property losses, improve transaction security, and provide intelligent analysis. We produce AM/EM/RFID systems, EAS tags, EAS soft tags, EAS safer, lanyards, detachers and all kinds EAS accessories products. Infrared people counter and camera people counter is available.
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