At yesterday's International Solid State Circuit Conference (ISSCC), Holst Centre, imec and TNO presented a dual-gate-based organic RFID chip with record data rate and lowest reported operating voltage. For the first time, the advantages of dual gate transistors in circuit speed and robustness have thereby been exploited in a complex organic-electronic circuit.
Organic RFID tags are one of the drivers of flexible electronics research and development. Over the previous years, Holst Centre, Imec and TNO, have been successful in reporting state-of-the art results on major conferences, such as ISSCC and IEDM. The current result of a 64-bit transponder circuit at 4.3kb/s shows an improvement of over a factor two compared to the result reported last year at ISSCC. What's more, results show that chips start to operate at lower voltages (down to 10V), making them more suitable for capacitive and inductive coupling with a readout station.
Main reason behind the increased performance is the use of a dual gate unipolar transistor technology, adapted from rollable-display company Polymer Vision, one of the partners in the Holst Centre research programs. Using a dual gate allows controlling the threshold voltage (Vt) and the thus obtained multiple-Vt technology leads to more robust circuits.
Dual-gate organic TFT (thin-film transistor) circuits have been reported before, but had never surpassed the complexity of basic inverters. Thanks to the tight collaboration within mixed teams of circuit designers and technology developers, Holst Centre, imec and TNO now report 99-stage dual-gate ring oscillators in various topologies, plus 64-bit RFID transponder chips using the same architecture.
Further and ongoing work will demonstrate the viability of the technology towards industrial uptake. Holst Centre therefore gathers leading industrial players from across the value chain around its shared research roadmaps. The work is the result of a close collaboration between TNO and imec teams in Eindhoven and Leuven.
About Holst Centre
Holst Centre is an independent open-innovation R&D centre that develops generic technologies for Wireless Autonomous Transducer Solutions and for Systems-in-Foil. A key feature of Holst Centre is its partnership model with industry and academia around shared roadmaps and programs. It is this kind of cross-fertilization that enables Holst Centre to tune its scientific strategy to industrial needs.
Holst Centre was set up in 2005 by imec (Flanders, Belgium) and TNO (The Netherlands) with support from the Dutch Ministry of Economic Affairs and the Government of Flanders. It is named after Gilles Holst, a Dutch pioneer in Research and Development and first director of Philips Research.
Located on High Tech Campus Eindhoven, Holst Centre benefits from the state-of-the-art on-site facilities. Holst Centre has over 150 employees from around 25 nationalities and a commitment from over 20 industrial partners. More information: www.holstcentre.com
Imec performs world-leading research in nano-electronics. Imec leverages its scientific knowledge with the innovative power of its global partnerships in ICT, healthcare and energy. Imec delivers industry-relevant technology solutions. In a unique high-tech environment, its international top talent is committed to providing the building blocks for a better life in a sustainable society.
Imec is headquartered in Leuven, Belgium, and has offices in Belgium, the Netherlands, Taiwan, US, China and Japan. Its staff of more than 1,650 people includes over 550 industrial residents and guest researchers. In 2008, imec's revenue (P&L) was 270 million euro.Further information on imec can be found at www.imec.be .
TNO is a prominent, independent knowledge company whose expertise and research contributes significantly to the competitiveness of businesses and organisations, to the economy and to the quality of life as a whole. Versatility and capacity to integrate this knowledge makes TNO unique. TNO employs some 4300 professionals in five core areas:
- TNO Quality of Life
- TNO Defence, Security and Safety
- TNO Science and Industry
- TNO Built Environment and Geosciences
- TNO Information and Communication Technology
More information: www.tno.nl
Top image: 64-bit organic transponder chip based on dual-gate thin-film-transistor technology, achieving 4.3kb/s data rate.
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