Tuesday, August 01, 2006

US Patent 7083104 - RFID with Nanowire Transistors


The term "microelectronics" is now often referred to as "nanoelectronics" due to the reduction of critical feature sizes below 1 micron. However, Nanosys is a company that is instead focusing on "macroelectronics". While Nanosys exploits nanostructured materials, they are more concerned with manufacturing large area (i.e. macro) electronic structures out of a variety of substrates that can provide more flexibility and less fragility than silicon electronics. These "macroelectronic" devices may be embedded into clothing, food packaging, and a variety of other structures and provide features such as disposable electronic displays or large array sensors. This patent focuses on "macroelectronic" RFID tags that can be made using nanowires. Claim 1 reads:

1. A radio frequency identification (RFID) tag, comprising: an antenna; a beam-steering array that includes a plurality of tunable elements, each tunable element including: a plurality of phase-adjustment components; a switch corresponding to each phase-adjustment component, said switch including a transistor formed by a thin film of nanowires in electrical contact with source and drain contacts; wherein said switch enables said corresponding phase-adjustment component to change a phase of said tunable element; wherein an electromagnetic (EM) signal transmitted by said antenna is redirected by said beam-steering array.