The Importance of Ultra Small Silicon Chips
May 24, 2004
We see that conventional RFID tags are housed in a range of enclosures including disks, glass beads, plastic packages, keys and key fobs, and watches. Low-cost chip RFID inlets are usually enclosed in labels or laminates, whose cost, thinness, and flexibility are suitable for newly targeted applications. RFID enabled printers for smart labels are now available, which print a barcode, write the barcode ID to the chip memory, then insert the chip and antenna into the printed label, ready for use. This was not possible with the various shapes of conventional RFID.
However, even for most chip smart labels, the encapsulation is a very significant part of the cost and it deserves great attention in the quest for value, despite the relatively low technology involved compared with the chip itself. For example, airlines and airports want smart luggage tags for only 10 to 20 cents, and a few are accepting 30 to 60 cents initially. The cost of the current paper-plastic assembly that they wish to retain as a part of this is therefore very significant at 4 to 8 cents. A similar situation occurs with other projects.
The race for ultra-small chips is based on:
- Less brittleness.
- Lower cost.
- Less problem with supply famines.
- Fits in awkward places.
However, below about 0.1 millimeter on the side, costs escalate again because cutting out the chip wastes so much silicon.