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Radio-frequency identification (RFID) is a technology that uses radio waves to transfer data from an electronic tag, called RFID tag or label, attached to an object, through a reader for the purpose of identifying and tracking the object. Some RFID tags can be read from several meters away and beyond the line of sight of the reader. The application of bulk reading enables an almost-parallel reading of tags. RFID can be used in many applications. For example, a tag can tag affixed to any object and used to track and manage inventory, assets, people, etc. For sample, it can be affixed to cars, computer equipment, books, mobile phones, etc. The Healthcare industry has used RFID to reduce counting, looking for things and auditing items. Many financial institutions use RFID to track key assets and automate compliance. Also with recent advances in social media RFID is being used to tie the physical world with the virtual world.
RFID Module

RFID Reader Module, are also called as interrogators. They convert radio waves returned from the RFID tag into a form that can be passed on to Controllers, which can make use of it. RFID tags and readers have to be tuned to the same frequency in order to communicate. RFID systems use many different frequencies, but the most common and widely used & supported by Reader is 125 KHz. An RFID system consists of two separate components: a tag and a reader. Tags are analogous to barcode labels, and come in different shapes and sizes. The tag contains an antenna connected to a small microchip containing up to two kilobytes of data. The reader, or scanner, functions similarly to a barcode scanner; however, while a barcode scanner uses a laser beam to scan the barcode, an RFID scanner uses electromagnetic waves. To transmit these waves, the scanner uses an antenna that transmits a signal, communicating with the tags antenna. The tags antenna receives data from the scanner and transmits its particular chip information to the scanner. The data on the chip is usually stored in one of two types of memory. The most common is Read-Only Memory (ROM). Read-only memory cannot be altered once programmed onto the chip during the manufacturing process. The second type of memory is Read/Write Memory; though it is also programmed during the manufacturing process, it can later be altered by certain devices.

a) Passive tags.
b) Semi passive tags.
c) Active tags.
Three different type of tags are describe bellow: a)Passive tags: Passive tags are the simplest, smallest and cheapest version of an RFID tag as they do not contain a built-in power source and consequently cannot initiate communication with a reader. As the available power from the reader field diminishes rapidly with distance, passive tags have practical read ranges that vary from about 10 mm up to about 5 metres. b)Semi-passive tags: Semi passive tags have built-in batteries and do not require energy from the reader field to power the microchip. This allows them to function with much lower signal power levels and act over greater distances. c)Active tags: Active RFID tags have their own internal power source which is used to power any ICs that generate the outgoing signal. Active tags are typically much more reliable (e.g. fewer errors) than passive tags due to the ability for active tags to conduct a "session" with a reader.

Frequency BandCharacteristicsTypical Application
Low 100 - 500 KHzShort to medium read range, inexpensive, low reading speedAccess control Animal/Human identification Inventory Control
Medium 10-15 MHzShort to medium read rangePotentially inexpensiveMedium reading range Access Control Smart Cards
High UHF: 850-950MHz Microwave: 2.4 – 5.8 GHz Long read range High reading speed Line of sight required (Microwave) Expensive Railroad car monitoring Toll collection systems


There is a huge variety of different operating principles for RFID systems. The most important principles - ‘inductive coupling’ and ‘backscatter coupling’ are described below.

a)Inductive Coupling

An inductively coupled transponder comprises of an electronic data carrying device, usually a single microchip and a large area coil that functions as an antenna. Inductively coupled transponders are almost always operated passively. This means that all the energy needed for the operation of the microchip has to be provided by the reader. For this purpose, the reader's antenna coil generates a strong, high frequency electro-magnetic field, which penetrates the cross-section of the coil area and the area around the coil. Because the wavelength of the frequency range used (< 135 kHz: 2400 m, 13.56 MHz: 22.1 m) is several times greater than the distance between the reader's antenna and the transponder, the electro-magnetic field may be treated as a simple magnetic alternating field with regard to the distance between transponder and antenna . A small part of the emitted field penetrates the antenna coil of the transponder, which is some distance away from the coil of the reader. By induction, a voltage is generated in the transponder's antenna coil. This voltage is rectified and serves as the power supply for the data carrying device (microchip). A capacitor C1 is connected in parallel with the reader's antenna coil, the capacitance of which is selected such that it combines with the coil inductance of the antenna coil to form a parallel resonant circuit, with a resonant frequency that corresponds with the transmission frequency of the reader. Very high currents are generated in the antenna coil of the reader by resonance step-up in the parallel resonant circuit, which can be used to generate the required field strengths for the operation of the remote transponder. The antenna coil of the transponder and the capacitor C1 to form a resonant circuit tuned to the transmission frequency of the reader. The voltage at the transponder coil reaches a maximum due to resonance step-up in the parallel resonant circuit.

As described above, inductively coupled systems are based upon a transformer-type coupling between the primary coil in the reader and the secondary coil in the transponder. This is true when the distance between the coils does not exceed 0.16 , so that the transponder is located in the near field of the transmitter antenna .

b)Backscatter Coupling

We know from the field of RADAR technology that electromagnetic waves are reflected by objects with dimensions greater than around half the wavelength of the wave. The efficiency with which an object reflects electromagnetic waves is described by its reflection cross-section. Objects that are in resonance with the wave front that hits them, as is the case for antenna at the appropriate frequency for example, have a particularly large reflection cross-section. Power P1 is emitted from the reader's antenna, a small proportion of which (free space attenuation) reaches the transponder's antenna. The power P1' is supplied to the antenna connections as HF voltage and after rectification by the diodes D1 and D2 this can be used as turn on voltage for the deactivation or activation of the power saving "power-down" mode. The diodes used here are low barrier Schottky diodes, which have a particularly low threshold voltage. The voltage obtained may also be sufficient to serve as a power supply for short ranges.
A proportion of the incoming power P1' is reflected by the antenna and returned as power P2. The reflection characteristics (= reflection cross-section) of the antenna can be influenced by altering the load connected to the antenna. In order to transmit data from the transponder to the reader, a load resistor RL connected in parallel with the antenna is switched on and off in time with the data stream to be transmitted. The amplitude of the power P2 reflected from the transponder can thus be modulated. The power P2 reflected from the transponder is radiated into free space. A small proportion of this (free space attenuation) is picked up by the reader's antenna. The reflected signal therefore travels into the antenna connection of the reader in the "backwards direction" and can be decoupled using a directional coupler and transferred to the receiver input of a reader. The "forward" signal of the transmitter, which is stronger by powers of ten, is to a large degree suppressed by the directional coupler