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Flexible Circuits and Materials for Creating Large-Area RFID Reader Antenna Systems
Mid Sweden University, Faculty of Science, Technology and Media, Department of Electronics Design. Mittuniversitetet. (Printed Electronics)ORCID iD: 0000-0002-1125-1150
2018 (English)Licentiate thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

One of the applications for RFID technology is to monitor and position RFID-tagged objects over large volumes. To achieve this, one possible option is to implement RFID reader antennas, which are relatively thin but with significantly large areas, and place them beneath the RFID-tagged objects.  In order to realise RFID reader antennas with large-areas, circuit materials other than conventional rigid PCB materials should be investigated and utilized. Therefore, this thesis addresses how non-conventional PCB materials can be used to achieve large-area RFID reader antenna structures.

   Non-conventional PCB materials are firstly chosen, which comprises patterned Al-polyimide foil, printed conductive Ag inks onto paper, polyethylene foam as antenna substrate. The physical and electrical properties of the materials are measured. These properties are later used in antenna simulations. In addition, assembly methods, e.g. circuit lamination and VIA fabrication, for the chosen materials are developed. 

   Three novel surface mounting techniques are developed and characterized in this thesis. The techniques are developed for mounting SMD components onto tracks made by Al, a screen printed Ag flake ink, and an inkjet printed Ag nanoparticle ink. These techniques are characterized and evaluated by various methods, including contact resistance measurements, bonding strength tests, and microscopy studies. The characterizations show these techniques have achieved low contact resistance and sufficient bonding strength.

   Based on the previous efforts, two antenna systems, respectively operating on UHF (867 MHz) and HF (13.56 MHz) bands, are fabricated. The two antenna systems are designed into SP4T switching networks, using standard antenna elements as the loads of the network. The input RFID interrogation signals from commercial industrial RFID readers are directed into every antenna element periodically through the SP4T switching networks. Both antenna systems are characterized by means of various RF power attenuation measurements and passive RFID tag interrogation tests. It is shown in the results that both antenna systems have low RF attenuations, potentials to perform passive RFID tag positioning, and possibilities to be expanded to larger areas.

   In the end, based on the antenna system characterization results and design parameters, a great amount of calculation is performed in order to discuss how large the antenna system areas can be as well as how many antenna elements can be achieved in one antenna system. 

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Sundsvall: Mid Sweden University , 2018. , p. 67
Series
Mid Sweden University licentiate thesis, ISSN 1652-8948 ; 148
National Category
Communication Systems Manufacturing, Surface and Joining Technology
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:miun:diva-34698ISBN: 978-91-88527-79-0 (print)OAI: oai:DiVA.org:miun-34698DiVA, id: diva2:1255467
Presentation
2018-11-15, O102s, Holmgatan 10, Sundsvall, 10:00 (English)
Opponent
Supervisors
Available from: 2018-10-12 Created: 2018-10-12 Last updated: 2018-10-12Bibliographically approved
List of papers
1. Flexible Circuits and Materials for Large-Area UHF RFID Reader Antenna Systems
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Flexible Circuits and Materials for Large-Area UHF RFID Reader Antenna Systems
2018 (English)In: IOP Flexible and Printed Electronics, ISSN 2058-8585, Vol. 3, no 1, article id 015005Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

RF electronics commonly incorporate PCB-materials with low loss tangents, which limits its use for large-area applications due to its high cost. This work verifies one alternative solution how non-conventional flexible circuit materials can be used to manufacture large functional surfaces for RF-based applications. Laminated Al foils are used for conducting layers and a flexible foam material is used for substrate. An RFID reader system has been developed to demonstrate the functionality, comprising of eight microstrip antenna elements arranged in a SP4T switching structure covering an area of 1.2 m × 0.6 m. Each antenna element is individually addressable with aid of distributed digital and analogue multiplexer circuitry and it is shown how these components can be soldered directly onto the Al conductors. The constructed system shows good RF performance, both with regards to the materials and to the interconnections with the distributed multiplexer circuitry. It can perform far-field RFID tag reading above its surface without dead zones and the system characterization implies that the concept can be further expanded to cover geometrical areas up to 1000 square meters.

Keywords
UHF RFID, large-area reader antenna system, flexible circuits and materials
National Category
Other Electrical Engineering, Electronic Engineering, Information Engineering
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:miun:diva-32307 (URN)10.1088/2058-8585/aaa1f3 (DOI)000424097500002 ()2-s2.0-85045646881 (Scopus ID)
Note

Accepted Manuscript online 15 December 2017

Available from: 2017-12-06 Created: 2017-12-06 Last updated: 2018-10-12Bibliographically approved
2. Soldering surface mount components on screen printed Ag patterns on paper and Polyimide substrates for hybrid printed electronics
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Soldering surface mount components on screen printed Ag patterns on paper and Polyimide substrates for hybrid printed electronics
2018 (English)In: Flexible and Printed Electronics, ISSN 2058-8585, Vol. 3, no 1, article id 015003Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

The development of printed electronics on flexible substrates is increasing rapidly, where the main benefit is large area and low cost. However, the functionality and performance of printed circuits cannot compete with standard silicon based microprocessors or integrated circuits, though the functionality and performance of printed circuits are increasing. Therefore, in this work we investigate the possibilities of using Sn42/Bi57.6/Ag0.4 low-temperature solder paste together with a reflow solder oven and hot air solder iron to mount regular SMD components on screen-printed silver tracks. It was found that it is possible to solder standard Si SMD pack-ages onto screen-printed Ag ink tracks on paper substrate, however, the component bonding strength to Polyimide were not satisfactory. The resistance of the solder joints was found to be no more than 240 mΩ. The bond strength was found to be higher using the manual hot air sol-der iron than the reflow solder oven. Bending tests show that the bonding strength is higher for the hot air soldered components. Reference samples on FR-4 based copper PCB show a bond strength ~10 times higher but we conclude that it is possible to solder regular Si SMD components onto Ag-printed conductors on paper substrate with good results. The process could be used to fabricate hybrid printed electronics on a standard solder process line.

National Category
Other Electrical Engineering, Electronic Engineering, Information Engineering
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:miun:diva-32305 (URN)10.1088/2058-8585/aa9dc7 (DOI)000423451500001 ()2-s2.0-85045650822 (Scopus ID)
Projects
IDPOS
Available from: 2017-12-06 Created: 2017-12-06 Last updated: 2018-10-12Bibliographically approved
3. A Paper-Based Screen Printed HF RFID Reader Antenna System
Open this publication in new window or tab >>A Paper-Based Screen Printed HF RFID Reader Antenna System
2018 (English)In: IEEE Journal of Radio Frequency Identification, ISSN 2469-729X, Vol. 2, no 3, p. 118-126Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Screen printing is a stencil process where conductive inks are patterned onto substrates through a fine mesh of threads. Nowadays, screen printing can be used to print RFID antenna structures onto flexible and ultra-low-cost substrates such as pa-per. In this manuscript, we present an HF RFID reader antenna system, operating at 13.56 MHz, using screen printed Ag particle ink as conductor and using HP photo paper as substrate. The proposed antenna system comprises four loop antenna elements, matched to 50 Ω, and one I2C addressed SP4T multiplexer circuitry, controlled through an exterior embedded system. The geometries, designs and characterizations of the antenna system are described in the manuscript in details. Measurement results show that the antenna system has low power reflections and a suitable Q factor. It has a maximum 11.1 cm RFID tag read range at an antenna system input power of 33 dBm. 2D RFID tag positioning can be enabled by utilizing the RFID tag interrogation zones formed by the four loop antenna elements. In addition, a parametric study is carried out to investigate the effect of loop antenna element DC resistance on the antenna element performance. It can be concluded that the proposed method can be used to create low-cost and large-area HF RFID reader antenna systems.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
445 Hoes Lane Piscataway, NJ 08854, USA: IEEE, 2018
Keywords
HF reader antenna system, 13.56 MHz, screen printed, paper substrate
National Category
Paper, Pulp and Fiber Technology Electrical Engineering, Electronic Engineering, Information Engineering
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:miun:diva-34384 (URN)10.1109/JRFID.2018.2869494 (DOI)
Projects
IDPOS
Available from: 2018-09-12 Created: 2018-09-12 Last updated: 2018-10-12Bibliographically approved
4. Soldering Surface Mount Components onto Inkjet Printed Conductors on Paper Substrate using Industrial Processes
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Soldering Surface Mount Components onto Inkjet Printed Conductors on Paper Substrate using Industrial Processes
Show others...
2016 (English)In: IEEE Transactions on Components, Packaging, and Manufacturing Technology, ISSN 2156-3950, E-ISSN 2156-3985, Vol. 6, no 3, p. 478-485, article id 7422029Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

This paper describes mounting of standard surface mount component packages on a paper substrate using an industrial solder process with a low-temperature solder. The use of paper as a substrate for printed flexible electronics is becoming more and more widespread as an alternative to the more commonly used plastic substrates, such as polyethylene and polyimide. Paper has the benefits of being environmentally friendly, recyclable, and renewable, as well as inexpensive. It is shown that it is possible to mount standard surface mount device components on paper substrates using low-temperature solder in an industrial soldering process. The contact resistances obtained are mostly low, although the yield of functioning contacts is low. The reason is cracking of the substrate coating layer that goes through the printed silver tracks. It was observed that the cracks appear mostly close to the contact pads, the most likely cause is thermal mismatch between the coating layer and solder and also thermal expansion of the photo paper resin coating. The smallest component package size, 0201, resulted in the highest yield of >80% with decreasing yield for larger package sizes.

Keywords
Electronic components, printing, soldering, surface-mount technology
National Category
Electrical Engineering, Electronic Engineering, Information Engineering
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:miun:diva-26841 (URN)10.1109/TCPMT.2016.2522474 (DOI)000372787300017 ()2-s2.0-84960154273 (Scopus ID)STC (Local ID)STC (Archive number)STC (OAI)
Projects
IDPOS
Funder
Knowledge Foundation, 20130324
Available from: 2016-01-07 Created: 2016-01-07 Last updated: 2018-10-12Bibliographically approved
5. UHF RFID Shelf Reader Antennas for Object Classification and Distance Estimation of Non-Tagged RFID Objects
Open this publication in new window or tab >>UHF RFID Shelf Reader Antennas for Object Classification and Distance Estimation of Non-Tagged RFID Objects
2017 (English)In: 2017 Ieee International Conference On Microwaves, Antennas, Communications And Electronic Systems (Comcas), IEEE, 2017, p. 289-292Conference paper, Published paper (Refereed)
Abstract [en]

RFID readers serve the obvious role of extracting information from RFID tagged objects. Objects without RFID tags or objects with tags that for some reason are unreadable will not be noted at all when positioned within an RFID reader antenna's interrogation zone. In this paper, we investigate how UHF RFID reader systems for smart shelf applications could also be used for classification and distance estimation of non RFID tagged objects, if the reader modules provide access to antenna S-parameters. The investigation is performed with an inset fed microstrip antenna where objects of different materials are positioned at different heights above the antenna. It is shown how objects are detected and classified in terms of their materialistic properties through S-parameter analysis and how the distance from the antenna to the object could be estimated.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
IEEE, 2017
Series
IEEE International Conference on Microwaves Communications Antennas and Electronic Systems, ISSN 2150-895X
Keywords
Antennas, RFID, Dielectrics
National Category
Electrical Engineering, Electronic Engineering, Information Engineering
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:miun:diva-33394 (URN)000426968600065 ()2-s2.0-85045838621 (Scopus ID)978-1-5386-3169-0 (ISBN)
Conference
IEEE International Conference on Microwaves, Antennas, Communications and Electronic Systems (COMCAS), Tel Aviv, ISRAEL, NOV 13-15, 2017
Available from: 2018-04-03 Created: 2018-04-03 Last updated: 2018-10-12Bibliographically approved

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Li, Xiaotian

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