Chipless RFID tags fabricated by fully printing of metallic inks


This paper reviews recent advances in fully printed chipless radio frequency identification (RFID) technology with special concern on the discussion of coding theories, ID generating circuits, and tag antennas. Two types of chipless tags, one based on time-domain reflections and the other based on frequency domain signatures, are introduced. To enable a fully printed encoding circuit, linearly tapering technique is adopted in the first type of tags to cope with parasitic resistances of printed conductors. Both simulation and measurement efforts are made to verify the feasibility of the eight-bit fully printed paper-based tag. In the second type of tags, a group of LC tanks are exploited for encoding data in frequency domain with their resonances. The field measurements of the proof-of-concept of the tag produced by toner-transferring process and flexible printed circuit boards are provided to validate the practicability of the reconfigurable ten-bit chipless RFID tag. Furthermore, a novel RFID tag antenna design adopting linearly tapering technique is introduced. It shows 40 % save of conductive ink materials while keeping the same performance for conventional half-wave dipole antennas and meander line antennas. Finally, the paper discusses the future trends of chipless RFID tags in terms of fabrication cost, coding capacity, size, and reconfigurability. We see that, coupled with revolutionary design of low-cost tag antennas, fabrication/reconfiguration by printing techniques, moving to higher frequencies to shrink tag sizes and reduce manufacturing cost, as well as innovation in ID generating circuits to increase coding capacities, will be important research topics towards item-level tracking applications of chipless RFID tags.

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This work was financially supported by Vinnova (The Swedish Governmental Agency for Innovation Systems) through the Vinn Excellence centers program iPack Center and by the EU project CLIP of grant number 243557 through EU FP7-SME-2008-2.

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Correspondence to Botao Shao.

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Shao, B., Chen, Q., Amin, Y. et al. Chipless RFID tags fabricated by fully printing of metallic inks. Ann. Telecommun. 68, 401–413 (2013).

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  • Chipless RFID
  • Fully printing
  • Frequency resonance
  • LC tank
  • Linearly tapering
  • Paper substrate
  • Time-domain reflections