µ-Chip. The World’s smallest RFID IC – Radio Frequency Identification Intergated Circuit


Electronic Numbering of Products and Documents using the “µ-Chip” (or mu-chip) supported by a Networked Database unleashes new Business and Life Style Applications that facilitate innovative Manufacturing, Distribution, Consumption, Tracking and Recycling operations.

*Size compared to a human fingertip

The RFID, wireless semiconductor integrated circuit that stores an ID number in its memory, was proposed about a decade ago as an alternative to the barcode. Its use, however, has so far been limited to a few applications where its advantages offset its relatively high cost.

The µ-Chip is Hitachi’s response to resolving some of the issues associated with conventional RFID technology. The µ-Chip uses the frequency of 2.45GHz. It has a 128-bit ROM for storing the ID with no write-read and no anti-collision capabilities. Its unique ID numbers can be used to individually identify trillions of trillions of objects with no duplication. Moreover with a size of 0.4mm square, the µ-Chip is small enough to be attached to a variety of minute objects including embedding in paper.

Manufacturing, distribution and tracking systems can be built or enhanced using the µ-Chip with an event-driven accumulation of, and on-demand access to, information stored in a database through the network. By coupling this database with the versatility of the µ-Chip new business and life styles applications can now be brought to reality. These new applications allow manufacturing, commerce and recycling processes to be operated in a way that has not been possible before.

 

September 2, 2003

Hitachi Develops a New RFID with Embedded Antenna µ-Chip
–Makes Possible Wireless Links that Work Using Nothing More Than a 0.4mm X 0.4mm Chip, One of the World’s Smallest ICs–

Tokyo, September 2, 2003-Hitachi, Ltd. (TSE: 6501) today announced that it has developed a new version of its RFID µ-Chip embedding an antenna. When using Hitachi’s original µ-Chip, one of the world’s smallest RFID ICs measuring only 0.4mm X 0.4mm, an external antenna must be attached to the chip to allow external devices to read the 128-bit ID number stored in its ROM (Read-Only-Memory). This newly developed version, however, features an internal antenna, enabling chips to employ the energy of incoming electrical waves to wirelessly transmit its ID number to a reader. The 0.4mm X 0.4mm chip can thus operate entirely on its own, making it possible to use µ-Chip as RFID IC tags without the need to attach external devices. This breakthrough opens the door to using µ-Chips as RFID IC tags in extremely minute and precise applications that had been impractical until now. For example, the new µ-Chip can be easily embedded in bank notes, gift certificates, documents and whole paper media etc.

The µ-Chip, announced by Hitachi in July 2001, is one of the world’s smallest IC chips at 0.4mm X 0.4mm. The chip data is recorded in read-only memory during the semiconductor production process, and therefore cannot be rewritten, thus guaranteeing its authenticity. Applications of the µ-Chip include a system for managing the SCM materials on sites, and entrance tickets for Expo 2005 Aichi Japan which opens on March 25, 2005.

The primary features of this revolutionary µ-Chip are as follows.

(1) A RFID IC chip measuring only 0.4mm X 0.4mm with built-in antenna

Despite its extremely small size, this µ-Chip has a built-in antenna to permit contactless communications (at very close proximity) with other devices without using an external antenna.

(2) No need for special manufacturing equipment

The antenna is formed using bump-metalization technology (used to create the electrical contacts of an IC), a process already widely used by semiconductor manufacturers, thus eliminating any need for specialized equipment.

(3) Complete compatibility with conventional µ-Chip

With ID numbers and support systems that are fully compatible with those of existing µ-Chip, the new chip is fully compatible with all systems that use current µ-Chip technology.

Hitachi plans to develop numerous markets for this chip that take full advantage of its outstanding features. Embedding the chip in securities, identification and other valuable documents such as vouchers offers a highly sophisticated means of preventing counterfeiting. Another high-potential application is agricultural products, where the chips can help ensure the safety of food by providing traceability of ingredients. Additionally, the chips can be embedded in business forms to automate logistics systems and many other business processes.

About Hitachi, Ltd.

Hitachi, Ltd. (NYSE: HIT), headquartered in Tokyo, Japan, is a leading global electronics company, with approximately 340,000 employees worldwide. Fiscal 2002 (ended March 31, 2003) consolidated sales totaled 8,191.7 billion yen ($68.3 billion). The company offers a wide range of systems, products and services in market sectors, including information systems, electronic devices, power and industrial systems, consumer products, materials and financial services. For more information on Hitachi, please visit the company’s Web site at http://www.hitachi.com.

Technical Description

Specifications of µ-Chip

Simple Mechanism :

128-bit read only memory, no anti-collision control

Super-micro Chip: 0.4 mm x 0.4mm

Battery Less:

The µ-Chip a passive IC, that receives the microwave from the reader, generates electric power from the microwave, decodes its µ-Chip ID and transmits it back to the reader.

Unique ID (µ-Chip ID):

Each µ-Chip stores unique 128-bit data in its ROM as its ID, to distinguish it from the others.

Radio Frequency:

2.45 GHz

Maxmum Communication Length:

about 25 cm (with an external antenna) (Reader: 300mW, 4 Pach Antenna, Circular Polarization)

Response Time:

20msec

Operations

Interrogation:
When the reader is activated by a terminal device (PC), it radiates microwave on to the µ-Chip attached to a carrying article and the µ-Chip returns its µ-Chip ID to the reader. The carrying article may be a tag, a label or a customers products.
Database Query:
The terminal device authenticates the µ-Chip ID and uses it to retrieve information from the database about the article carrying the µ-Chip. The result of the query can be displayed on the terminal device or used by a software application.
Database Construction:
The database may be located at the site server or at the central server and stores attributes of the µ-Chip carrying article. Information associated with the event of readout may be used to update the database.
Linking:
Linking each µ-Chip ID to the carrying article is performed upon application of the µ-Chip to it.
The attributes of the article at this point comprise the basic entry to the database. For efficient, automated linking process, consultation and engineering services are available.

http://www.hitachi.co.jp/Prod/mu-chip/

http://www.hitachi.com/New/cnews/030902.html

http://www.hitachi.co.jp/Prod/mu-chip/technical/index.html

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