Three-dimensional printable radio frequency identification antennas

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Sähkötekniikan korkeakoulu | Master's thesis
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Radio Engineering
Degree programme
EST - Master’s Programme in Radio Science and Engineering
54 +10
In this master’s thesis, radio frequency identification (RFID) systems and three-dimensional (3D) printing technology is studied to determine the possibility of printing electrically small 3D antennas for RFID tags. Computer simulations are carried out to design 3D antennas that are printable with 3D printing processes. Three tag antennas with different geometries are proposed, and they are designed to match to the input impedance of an RFID chip at the Ultra High Frequency (UHF) frequencies. These antennas are printed with plastic material using Fused Deposition Modeling (FDM) and Stereolithography (SLA) process, and afterwards coated with conductive material. The results that are obtained in this thesis show that it is possible to print 3D antennas using 3D printing technology but the measured results of antenna impedances do not closely match to the simulated one. The difference in results could be due to some factors in the antenna manufacturing process, which can influence the change in impedance from the desired one. These possible factors are also discussed in this thesis. Finally, the read range and sensitivity of a tag developed from one of the printed antennas is also determined. The work done in this thesis has demonstrated that 3D printing technology has a potential to print antennas of different geometries. With further research in this area, 3D printing can be used as a tool to fabricate antennas for various RFID applications. In addition, with the availability of 3D printers with metal printing capabilities, 3D printing holds a major potential for designing future compact-sized antennas for RFID applications.
Viikari, Ville
Thesis advisor
Rasilainen, Kimmo
antennas, RFID, three-dimensional (3D) printing, transponder
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