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Progress In Electromagnetics Research Symposium, Beijing, China, March 23–27, 2009


A Miniature Chip Antenna Design for a Passive UHF RFID Tag to Be Built in a Portable Device
Yu-Shu Lin, Hsien-Wen Liu, Kuo-Hsien Wu, and Chang-Fa Yang Department of Electrical Engineering National Taiwan University of Science and Technology Taipei, Taiwan

Abstract— In this paper, a miniature antenna for a passive UHF RFID tag is designed, which
may be built in a portable device. Matching techniques for a Gen2 tag IC are employed to enhance the readable distance of the tag for long-range reading purposes, where quasi-lumped and lumped elements are used to match the chip antenna to the tag IC having complex input impedance. A commercial simulator, HFSSTM is used to analyze the performance of the antenna. Also, measurements in an anechoic chamber of the RFID education and research center at National Taiwan University of Science and Technology are performed to evaluate the readable range of the chip tag, which is more than 5 m for a reader with an EIRP equal to 4 W. The chip antenna operating in the 900 MHz RFID band proposed here has dimensions of only 10 × 9.5 × 0.8 mm3 . Thus, this miniature tag may be flexibly built in a portable device to allow long-range reading. 1. INTRODUCTION

In recent years, Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) has been developed for many applications, such as supply chain managements, retail store applications, etc. For UHF passive RFID systems, the passive tags need to have good impedance matching to achieve efficient power transfer between the tag IC and antenna. Usually, tag antennas in ordinary half-wave dipole forms were designed [1– 6]. In this paper, a miniature chip antenna having a size of only 10 × 9.5 × 0.8 mm3 for the UHF RFID passive tag is presented, which can be easily built in a portable device. An impedance matching approach by using quasi-lumped components is also investigated and is compared with that by applying lumped elements. A commercial simulator, HFSSTM [7] has been employed to analyze the electrical characteristics of the tag antenna and quasi-lumped elements.

As shown in Fig. 1, a miniature chip tag operating in the RFID UHF band is proposed here, which has antenna dimensions of only 10 × 9.5 × 0.8 mm3 . To have a low cost design, this tag antenna is fabricated on an FR4 substrate with a relative permittivity εr = 4.4 and loss tangent δ = 0.02. Performance of the proposed tag antenna having an input impedance of 26+j3Ω is demonstrated in Fig. 2, where a 100 × 48 mm2 test board is used here. The input impedance of the Monza Gen2 tag IC we have used is equivalent to that of an RC series circuit with R = 33 ohm and C = 1.58 pF. To achieve a conjugated match with this tag IC, as shown in Fig. 3(a), a lumped inductance of 18 nH is serially connected between the proposed antenna and tag IC. Also, another matching circuit, composed of two compact quasi-lumped elements, is applied to obtain the conjugated match, as shown in Fig. 3(b). This quasi-lumped circuit consists of a series inductance and a shunt inductance, where the equivalent values of the inductances are extracted to be 12.3 nH and 12.5 nH, respectively.

Figure 1: Geometry of the proposed miniature chip tag antenna.

Pmin is the minimum power of the reader to be able to read the tag. L4 = 2. 2009 Fig. 5. the maximum readable range for a given EIRP can be determined by the following formula [6]: rmax = d EIRP Pmin Gt Lc (1) where d is the distance between the tag and the transmitting antenna. (a) Return loss. A transmitting horn antenna with a gain Gt was fed by an RFID reader via a connecting cable with loss Lc . if the EIRP of the reader is set to 4 W.5 dB at 922 MHz for the chamber system. Therefore. March 23–27.1258 PIERS Proceedings. Since RF charging of the passive tag by the reader is the critical part for a success reading. (b) Quasi-lumped circuit with L7 = 4 mm and L8 = 4 mm. In those measurements. 4 shows the measured input impedances and reflections of the lumped and quasi-lumped designs for the proposed chip antenna.25 mm. China.75 mm. was oriented to obtain the maximum power from the reader antenna. L3 = 1. L2 = 11. Beijing. and the measured Pmin for lumped and quasi-lumped designs were individually obtained to be 29 dBm and 28 dBm. (a) Lumped circuit with L1 = 8 mm. The proposed tag antenna. L5 = 7.95 mm. as shown in Fig. The readable range of the tag was tested in an antenna measurement anechoic chamber. (a) (b) Figure 2: The performance of the proposed passive tag antenna.7 dBi and Lc = −1. (a) (b) Figure 3: Configurations of the lumped and quasi-lumped matching circuits. d was fixed at 3. attached on a Styrofoam. The quasi-lumped design has a wider bandwidth in the RFID UHF band. (b) Simulated far-field radiation pattern at 922 MHz.2 mm and L6 = 4 mm.6m. Gt = 5. the maximum readable ranges with the lumped and quasi-lumped .

(a) Input impedance. China.5 m (a) (b) Figure 4: Measured input impedances and return losses of the proposed tag antenna with the lumped and quasi-lumped matching circuits.Progress In Electromagnetics Research Symposium. respectively. Besides. The performance of the proposed tag antenna was examined through the readable range measurements in an anechoic chamber. (b) Return loss. we have proposed and analyzed a miniature chip antenna with lumped and quasilumped matching circuits for passive UHF RFID tag applications. (a) (b) Figure 5: The readable range measurements in an anechoic chamber. 3. CONCLUSIONS In this paper. March 23–27.8 m 6m Maximum range in the anechoic chamber 5m 5. Table 1: Experimental results of readable range measurements. (b) Chamber environment. read-range experiments were also performed in a corridor to compare with those from chamber measurements. Due to multi-path contributions. as listed in Table 1. The .5 m. Readable range Matching circuit Lumped elements Quasi-lumped elements Maximum range in the corridor 5. the distances measured in the corridor were longer in this test case. 2009 1259 designs will be 5 m and 5. (a) Measurement setup. Beijing.

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