Community Research and Development Information Service - CORDIS

H2020

EMERGENT Report Summary

Project ID: 645771
Funded under: H2020-EU.1.3.3.

Periodic Reporting for period 1 - EMERGENT (ChiplEss MultisEnsor Rfid for GrEen NeTworks)

Reporting period: 2015-01-01 to 2016-12-31

Summary of the context and overall objectives of the project

EMERGENT project aims to realize a new class of chipless Radio Frequency IDentification (RFID) tags and sensors moving from conventional wired-based sensors towards next generation pervasive Radio Frequency (RF) interconnected systems. Environmental-friendly substrates such as paper will be considered as well as low-cost fabrication processes.
The ongoing investigation can reasonably provide the ground for boosting potential innovations in specific fields, such as the green technology for chipless RFID tags as well as the design of novel green chipless RFID sensor. The technologies developed under EMERGENT project have the potential to foster the development of applications that can benefit from low-cost sensors and therefore it can represent an enabling technology for security, home automation and health.
EMERGENT is meant to design not only the chipless tag and sensor but also the dedicated reader necessary for extracting the desired information. It is important to point out that no commercial chipless RFID reader is available at this time in the market. EMERGENT is focusing on system parameters of the utmost importance such as reliability and calibration to assess the reliable performance of the reading process in a realistic scenario. EMERGENT is oriented toward the design and realization of wireless passive and semi-passive chipless smart tags and sensors able to sense the changing of a physical quantity in the surrounding environment. More in detail, sensors of temperature and humidity are of interest in many application areas and therefore they will be investigated. EMERGENT is therefore devoted to move the first step to bring RFID sensing outside research laboratories towards self-consistent products.

Work performed from the beginning of the project to the end of the period covered by the report and main results achieved so far

Project activities started with a thorough analysis of the competing technological solutions available in the sensor market. On this basis, a preliminary analysis of green technologies for manufacturing chipless RFID-enabled sensors has been carried out. The electromagnetic characterization of candidate materials (graphene, carbon nanotubes, polymers) able to sense changes in some environmental parameters (temperature, humidity, stress, gas ) have been performed as well. Within this framework
A selection of the materials having the best sensitivity to the parameters to sense has been considered for the integration in sensors. Analysis and characterization of the conductive inks in terms of surface conductivity has been also addressed and low-cost solutions have been found. Inkjet printing on polyimide and coated papers have been performed.

The design of novel chipless tag structures that are potentially transformable into chipless sensor has been achieved in the first two years and the testing period is forthcoming. Chipless tags having coding capacity of some bits are considered sufficient. The efforts have been focused toward a succesfull the realization and testing of chipless sensors. To this aim, the optimization of the sensing capacity of the sensitive material by the use of external power source has been successfully addressed. Readers for these kinds of sensors have been studied as well and a suitable interrogation system has been defined.

The reading process in a real environment has been considered. In particular, calibrating and reading procedures robust to the surrounding environment and less prone to detuning effect has been developed. Passive and semi-passive solutions have been described. A completely new hardware implementation of a dedicated chipless sensor reader is started and is currently ongoing. A final product will be released at the end of the project and we are planning to present it at conferences and industrial fairs.

Progress beyond the state of the art and expected potential impact (including the socio-economic impact and the wider societal implications of the project so far)

The technologies developed under EMERGENT project have the potential to deliver novel applications across different sectors and influence society. The development of low-cost sensors and, more in general, the field of printed electronics can be classified as enabling technologies for their potential impact on very different societal scenarios. Applications of low cost-sensors include Smart Security and Emergencies, Smart Agriculture, Animal Farming, Domotic, Home Automation and eHealth.
On the company side, the advances obtained in terms of low-cost printing technology can be applied to the vast area of printed electronics. Moreover, the activity of Cubit in developing a reader for chipless RFID tags and sensors has the potential to become the first reader of this kind in the market. It is therefore a valuable asset that will allow placing the companies in a strategic position in the RFID reader market.
The results of the EMERGENT project can be exploited in several areas of applications. The most immediate result is clearly related to green chipless RFID tags and sensors. The experience gained in terms of characterization, fabrication and design can be applied to the design of chipless RFID tags for tracking of goods and access control but it can be advantageously employed also for providing additional security for anti-counterfeiting.
The most important breakthrough technologies developed in the EMERGENT project are the following:
• Methods and techniques for the characterization of chemical interactive materials (CIM). New techniques and setup for studying the variation of the dielectric permittivity and surface resistance of materials have been developed.
• Inkjet printing of highly conductive patterns on flexible and green materials.
• Passive chipless sensors printed on flexible materials.

The research activity carried out in this first part of the EMERGENT project has underlined the need of technological improvements of several aspects. The first one involves the research of chemical interactive materials (CIM) able to sense a change in a physical quantity and transduce it into an RF-measurable. The measurements activity has also required the development of suitable instrumentations, measurement procedures and new facilities suitable to characterize CIMs for their potential use into sensors. In this sense, prototypes of small and medium chambers with controlled humidity have been fabricated, tested and are continuously refined. Setups for variable-temperature conditions have been investigated as well. The testing instrumentations and procedures can be an output of great interest also for other research areas involving material characterization and sensors.

Scientific exploitation implies defining the necessary actions to bring increased visibility to the project by involving the needed end-users, stakeholders with the aim to transfer the results/products into their professional domains. The key objectives for the uptake of the EMERGENT scientific results in the society:
• make the technical developments known to the scientific community
• promote the resulting prototypes within the public community
• make the results and benefits of the developed outputs attractive and known to the wide public and scientific community

This has been done by focusing on the real benefits of the research, marketing the project results and creating the basis for further research, development and implementation. The results of EMERGENT project achieved so far have been communicated to the scientific community and the general public by the project partners in several conferences and public events.
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