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Thin-film based passive RFID sensor tag for detection of packaged food volatiles
Keywords: RFID, Volatiles, Passive
Volatile organic compounds are ubiquitous in nature with unique properties such as high vapor pressure and low boiling point. The presence of VOC in the atmosphere is known to cause long-term health effects and environmental degradation. More specifically, in the food industry, VOCs emitted from food (Ammonia, Ethanol, etc) are used as indicators for spoilage, quality, and freshness. Wireless detection of volatiles along the food supply chain enables real-time quality control and prevents huge reputation and economic loss for the food industry [1]. There are many techniques available in the literature for volatile profiling such as colorimetric analysis, mass spectrometry, gas chromatography, and microwave sensors [2-3]; but volatile profiling using wireless sensor tags is attractive due to its simple, real- time, and non-contact nature [4]. Furthermore, this method provides an alternative low-cost sensing technique with selectivity. In this paper, a passive RFID sensor is fabricated with different VOC absorbing thin films (For example, Polyaniline, Polyamide, etc). For the measurement and characterization, the sensor is placed inside an enclosed chamber and two or more known volume of volatiles are introduced into the chamber along with background gases (nitrogen and air). The thin film coating absorbs the volatiles in air and changes the conductivity of the resonator. Effects of temperature and humidity on the sensitivity of the sensor is also investigated. The details of design, fabrication, and measurement of the RFID sensor along with its sensitivity and specificity are presented in the paper.
Saranraj Karuppuswami,
Michigan State University
East Lansing, Michigan

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