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Screen Printed RFID Antennas on Low Cost Flexible Substrates
Keywords: silver nanopowder, RFID, screen printing
One of the biggest obstacles to make RFID tags widespread is their unit price which is today too high. Recently emerged new technology – printed electronics – allows producing RFID antennas with printing techniques in a large scale on cheap flexible substrates, like foil or paper. This is environmentally friendly technology because it does not produce wastes like it is done during production of antennas using etching techniques. In this study, investigations of RFID antennas working in UHF frequency range made with screen printing techniques are described. Conductive polymer pastes with following fillers: silver nanopowder, silver flakes and carbon nanotubes were used for antenna manufacturing. Foil and paper were applied as substrate materials. After printing process antennas were dried in an oven in 120 degC for 15 minutes. The pastes with silver nanopowder were additionally cured in 300 degC for 60 minutes. A RFID chip was assembled to antennas in order to confirm a proper work of made RFID tag. RFID antennas were evaluated regarding to the thickness of printed conductive materials which was measured using a contact profilometer or metallographic microscope. Their surface structure was observed using metallographic microscope and scanning electron microscope. A reflection coefficient in the frequency range 0,5 – 1,5 GHz was measured to determine the antennas properties. Achieved results showed that antennas printed with silver pastes work properly. Their basic resonant frequency oscillated near 868 MHz. The characteristic of reflection coefficient for the antenna made from elaborated paste with carbon nanotubes did not exhibited distinct minimum probably because of high material's DC resistance. Mechanical tests showed that the best candidate for antenna printing amongst tested materials was the paste with silver nanopowder. It combines high conductivity and high resistance for environmental exposure.
Kamil Janeczek, Assistant
Tele & Radio Research Institute
Warsaw, Mazowieckie 03-450,
Poland


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