The NFC tag is manufactured in a thin-film transistor technology using indium gallium zinc oxide thin-film transistors (IGZO TFT) on a plastic substrate.
Imecʼs IGZO TFT technology uses large-area manufacturing processes that allow for inexpensive production in large quantities – an ideal technology for ubiquitous electronic devices in the Internet-of-Everything.
“Making a plastic electronics device compatible to the ISO standard originally designed for silicon CMOS was a very challenging research and development expedition” says Imec’s Kris Myny.
The researchers developed a self-aligned TFT architecture with scaled devices optimized for low parasitic capacitance and high cut-off frequency. This allowed design of a clock division circuit to convert incoming 13.56 MHz carrier frequency into system clock of the plastic chip.
Optimizations at logic gate and system level reduced power consumption down to 7.5mW, enabling readout by commercial smartphones. “These research innovations are the first major achievements of my ERC starting grant”, added Myny.
The self-aligned IGZO TFT technology offers manufacturing of chips in large volumes and at low cost.