NXP Announces Ucode 7, a Smaller and Faster Chip

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NXP Semiconductors has released its latest, highest-performance UHF RFID integrated circuit, which, according to the company, promises to be the highest-functioning EPC Gen 2 UHF RFID IC on the market. The new chip has higher read and write sensitivity, enabling the development of smaller and more versatile tags.

The Ucode 7’s development began approximately a year ago. During the past few months, manufacturers of RFID tags, readers and printers have been testing the technology. These early efforts, which took place ahead of the public announcement, were intended to ensure that if NXP released this new high-speed, highly sensitive chip, the market was ready to provide the technology (inlays, as well as readers and printers) equipped to use it, says Victor Vega, NXP’s marketing director for RFID products.

The Ucode 7 chip’s new features include:

■Increased read and write sensitivity (meaning the chip requires less power to be read or encoded than previous NXP chips)

■Greater backscatter strength (to improve read performance)

■faster writing speed

■parallel encoding (to provide faster programming when users are encoding a large quantity of tags for products with the same stock-keeping unit)

■greater broadband width (to enable improved functionality internationally where the frequency of the reader’s RF signal varies from region to region)

The chip measures 445 microns by 490 microns (0.018 inch by 0.0l9 inch), and could be smaller. It comes with 128 bits of memory. According to Vega, the new chip’s greater sensitivity and write speed will make it possible for tags to be used in ways in which they have not been previously utilized. For example, he says, it will now be easier for companies to apply very small tags to such items as cosmetics and jewelry.

Pricing for the chip is expected to be equivalent to that of the G2iL model.