Printing radio frequency (RF) components — including antennas, filters, transmission lines, and interconnects — rather than using traditional manufacturing methods, could drastically reduce the cost and carbon emissions of production. The radio frequency identification (RFID) sensors Spearhead Project by the Graphene Flagship is using graphene's unique properties to make printable RFID sensing a reality.
RFID sensors are commonly used in retail, hospitals and education institutions, to track and monitor assets. These tools are important to society and therefore reducing the costs of RFID technology by using more efficient manufacturing methods, benefits everyone that uses these facilities. Put simply, if hospitals, colleges and schools save money, they have more money to spend on improving education and healthcare.
Due to the ease of use and low-cost benefits of printing, using this method to produce RFID sensors provides a huge sustainability opportunity. However, the quality and performance of today's printed components often do not align with traditional counterparts. This is due to disadvantages associated with the base materials, surface roughness, and print resolution.
These limitations have previously prevented printed, low-loss RF components from being used instead of those fabricated with traditional manufacturing techniques— until now.
Using graphene, the RFID Graphene Flagship Spearhead Project has created a platform to manufacture sensors of various physical parameters linked with RFID antennas. The platform is built by combining different layered materials into heterostructures operating as sensors to detect strain, humidity and light, to create remotely readable radiation detectors.
Over the next three years, the project will continue to develop and improve the platform for easier scalability. This will mean the sensors could be printed or deposited into laminates in a sequential process with printing graphene antennas.
Graphene Flagship Communications
02 December 2019 16:15