From hotel towels to soccer jerseys, just about everything seems to be tagged with radio frequency identification (RFID) chips these days. Now scientists have developed a way to embed these chips in paper, which could pave the way for so-called smart money.
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Developed by a team of researchers from North Dakota State University, the RFID-equipped smart paper could potentially be used in legal documents, tickets, package labels and banknotes. Researchers say the technology could help prevent fraud and counterfeiting.
While RFID-equipped paper already exists, other versions on the market rely on thicker chips, resulting in bulky and bumpy paper that can't be printed. However, researchers at North Dakota State developed a process called Laser Enabled Advanced Packaging that creates ultra-thin silicon chips that can be seamlessly embedded in paper.
The process uses a plasma etcher to thin down the chips, then uses a laser beam pulse to insert the chips, as well as antennas, directly into the paper.