Inkjet Printing of UHF RFID Antennas Using Silver and Gold Inks

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Book Chapter

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Compared with current methods, additive manufacturing processes could offer a more environment-friendly and cost-effective solution in producing long lasting RFID tags for identification and sensing applications. In this work we report the fabrication of UHF RFID antennas by inkjet printing on a flexible substrate. Silver and gold were chosen as ink materials since they are more resistant to weathering than other metals, particularly for applications that require long-term reusability. We compared the print performance of a commercial silver ink and our lab-developed gold nanoparticle (AuNP) ink on polyethylene naphthalate. The printing process for each ink is described using an adopted loop antenna design optimized for 866-868 MHz frequency range. Assembled passive and battery-assisted RFID tags using single-and double-layer sintered, printed antennas coupled with a readable UHF RFID chip showed tolerable detection distances using a commercial compact reader (with short read range specifications). Additionally, we observed a more consistent print behavior and quality, and consequently longer read ranges for the gold antennas (up to 40 cm with battery). Furthermore, the silver antennas oxidized over time resulting in decreased read ranges. Overall, our results show the viability of a printable gold RFID antenna with a tag working range that may be fit for close range non-contact reading.