Radio-frequency identification (RFID) technology represents an invaluable tool for a wide range of industries, including in industrial, medical, and military markets. A company often associated with analog and digital recording technologies, Maxell Corp. of America (Fair Lawn, NJ), has applied its expertise in data portability to the development of a large-memory-capacity RFID chip, the ME-Y2000 Series. The new RFID chips offer as much as 32 times more memory than the company's earlier RFID solutions, in a package measuring only 2.5 × 2.5 mm complete with on-chip antenna.

The ME-Y2000 series chips (see figure) are available with memory sizes of 1, 2, and 4 kB, compared to a mere 128 B of memory in the earlier ME-Y1000 product line. Designed for an operating distance of 3 mm at 13.56 MHz, the new RFID chips can be used for more than 100,000 write cycles, at a data-transfer rate of 212 kb/s. A 32-b key code is used as part of the write process. The chips can retain data for at least 10 years, making them well suited for high-performance industrial, medical, and military applications. These reliable RFID chips are already been used in security identification cards, for counterfeit prevention, for scientific applications regarding management of chemical reagents, and for medical research for test-tube identification.

In addition to the amount of memory, an impressive part of the technology is the coil-on-chip antenna that provides the air interface between the ME-Y2000's circuitry and a reader/writer platform. Fabricated by means of a precision electroforming process which adds the metal antenna patterns to the silicon chip, the antenna features a coil with 14-µm width and 4-µm gap between lines.

Maxell (the name stems from a shortening of "maximum capacity dry cell," a description of the company's dry cell batteries) also offers a compact read/write platform for use with the ME-Y1000 and ME-Y2000 chips. The platform, which is contained on a printed-circuit board (PCB) measuring only 50 × 60 mm, supports a variety of host interfaces, including USB, UART, and RS-232C standards. For more information on the RFID chips, or the company's capabilities in high-speed optical-communications technology, visit the website at www.maxell.com. Maxell Corp. of America, 22-08 Route 208, Fair Lawn, NJ 07410; (201) 703-8075, FAX: (201) 796-8790, e-mail: afujiwara@max ell.com, Internet: www.maxell.com.