Optimization of radio-frequency identification (RFID) tags often requires several iterations of antenna design/fabrication/testing to meet cost and performance targets. The use of a rapid prototyping approach for antenna development would allow the designer an inexpensive and fast route to the refinement process. In this study, the performance of a commercial-off-the-shelf ultrahigh frequency (UHF) etched copper antenna was compared to printed silver antennas prepared by the following three direct-write techniques: maskless mesoscale materials deposition; matrix-assisted pulsed laser evaporation direct-write; and, collimated aerosol beam direct-write. The morphologies of the antennas were analyzed using contact and optical profilers with sheet resistance also being measured. Operational characteristics were determined by mounting silicon integrated circuits (IC) to the four different types of antennas. The performance of tags that utilized direct-write silver antennas was comparable to the copper-based commercial tag. To our knowledge, this is the first demonstration where some of the direct-write rapid prototyping attributes (e.g., slight overspray, overlap of written lines, overall thickness less than 500 nm) are shown to not seriously impede RFID tag performance. These results demonstrate the utility of direct-write for rapid prototyping studies for UHF RFID antennas.
- Radio-frequency identification (RFID)