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p-Chips for Tagging and Authentication Applications


p-Chips for Tagging and AuthenticationThe p-Chip® is an ultra-small microtransponder tag – 500 x 500 microns and nominally 100 microns thick – that carries a unique serial number (ID). p-Chips are manufactured on wafers in silicon foundries using processes (CMOS) similar to those used in the manufacturing of memory chips and computer processors. An essential part of the p-Chip are photocells that, when illuminated by light from a reader, provide power and synchronization signals for the chip's electronic circuits. Additionally, each p-Chip contains an on-chip antenna that transmits its ID when stimulated by pulsed, laser light. The 30-bit memory capacity currently allows for over 1.1 billion unique IDs. Future versions of the p-Chip will have additional bits, effectively meaning that no two p-Chips will ever have the same ID.

PharmaSeq has developed methods to coat p-Chips with a variety of compounds, such as polymers.  Stability and chemical inertness to a wide variety of challenges are key features that enable the use of p-Chips in tagging and authentication applications. The reliability of their performance has been thoroughly tested by exposing p-Chips to various chemical solutions and solvents. p-Chips also have excellent resiliency to physical extremes: they can be heated up to 520 °C for 8 hours and still have full electrical activity and have a lifetime of many years at room temperature or lower. They even withstand repeated freezing and thawing in liquid nitrogen at temperatures of -196°C. Finally, they can be read when embedded in colored or translucent materials such as plastic or glass.

P-Chip one pennyThe ultra-small size, low cost of manufacturing, durability and reliability of p-Chips make them very attractive alternatives to traditional RFID devices, optical bar codes – such as QR codes – and other traditional tagging techniques (e.g., tagging with DNA molecules, invisible inks, etc). In particular, p-Chip attributes overcome many of the constraints that have prevented RFID devices from being widely adapted for tagging and tracking both consumer and industrial products and product packaging and small animals.  A broad range of fields where p-Chips have potential use is further described in the application section of the web site.

Home Technology p-Chips® for Tagging & Authentication Applications