Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) is an automated identification technology that used tags to transmit data upon RFID reader queries. Compared to barcodes identification technology, RFID tags provide a unique identifier, which raises concerns over user privacy, such as clandestine tracking and inventorying. In its original version, a RFID tag responds to a reader query with its fixed unique serial number. This fixed unique serial number enables tracking of tags and the bearers, possibly without the bearers’ knowledge or consent. In addition to the unique serial number, some tags carry information about the objects they are attached to. Thus, a retail store or a person owning such tags might be under threat of clandestine inventorying.

For a passive RFID system, the communication between the reader and the tag is fully controlled by the reader, i.e. the tag can’t send data unless triggered by the reader. The communication from the reader to the tag is referred to as the forward link, while the communication from tag to the reader is referred to as the reverse link.

The RFID tag chip contains a RF-analog front end, a digital control block and a non-volatile memory. RF-analog front end includes a voltage rectifier, a demodulator, a clock generator and a modulator. A Rectifier has to supply the needed DC voltage with maximum efficiency possible. A Demodulator is circuit used for forward link communication and Modulator is invoked for reverse link communication. Clock generator is based on RC relaxation oscillator, the capacitor charges when the output is low and discharges when the output is high. The security of RFID system depends largely on the digital control block of the RFID tags, which as identification tag, carrying only the unique serial number and an ID number.

Book: RFID Handbook: Fundamentals and Applications in Contactless Smart Cards and Identification by Dr. Klaus Finkenzeller

Web Resource: What is RFID?

Power Point Presentation: Basics of RFID Technology

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