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Flexible Circuits and Materials for Large-Area UHF RFID Reader Antenna Systems
Mid Sweden University, Faculty of Science, Technology and Media, Department of Electronics Design.ORCID iD: 0000-0002-1125-1150
Mid Sweden University, Faculty of Science, Technology and Media, Department of Electronics Design.
Mid Sweden University, Faculty of Science, Technology and Media, Department of Electronics Design.ORCID iD: 0000-0003-2965-0288
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.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2018. Vol. 3, no 1, article id 015005
Keywords [en]
UHF RFID, large-area reader antenna system, flexible circuits and materials
National Category
Other Electrical Engineering, Electronic Engineering, Information Engineering
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:miun:diva-32307DOI: 10.1088/2058-8585/aaa1f3ISI: 000424097500002Scopus ID: 2-s2.0-85045646881OAI: oai:DiVA.org:miun-32307DiVA, id: diva2:1163382
Note

Accepted Manuscript online 15 December 2017

Available from: 2017-12-06 Created: 2017-12-06 Last updated: 2018-10-12Bibliographically approved
In thesis
1. Flexible Circuits and Materials for Creating Large-Area RFID Reader Antenna Systems
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Flexible Circuits and Materials for Creating Large-Area RFID Reader Antenna Systems
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:nbn:se:miun:diva-34698 (URN)978-91-88527-79-0 (ISBN)
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

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Li, XiaotianSidén, JohanAndersson, Henrik

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