Graphene-based Near Field Communication (NFC) antennas
An Italian Innovation Center, has developed flexible graphene-based NFC antennas. They can be used to realize wearable NFC tags, electronic keys, smart objects and other NFC applications. The high flexibility, the chemical stability, the green production processes are some advantages of these graphene devices. Now, it is looking for companies interested in the development of an industrial product, moving from a lab-scale prototype to the commercialization through licence agreements.
NFC devices are involved in many industrial field like IoT, security, payment, retail management, mobile industry, health sensors, wearable electronics, etc. The Innovation Center is searching for opportunities in any of these fields, through agreements above all with NFC devices producers or developer of new IoT solutions with NFC. The Innovation Center is looking for industrial partners that has the ability to create, as starting point, a small pilot of graphene antennas production in order to move from lab-scale to industrial scale. Furthermore, a partner is needed to validate the standard tests required for the commercialization. After these steps, if the partner is interested in the commercialization of the final product, the Innovation Center will evaluate together with the company the suitable commercial agreement for the exploitation of the technology, preferably a licence agreeement.
The Innovation Center is especially focused on material science and one main topic is graphene. Since the beginning it is actively involved in a large-scale European initiative on graphene research and industrial development. With a budget of €1 billion in the space of 10 years, this initiative represents the biggest European research initiative ever realized on the topic. Graphene is currently one of the most extensively studied materials in the world, both at scientific and industrial level. Since its discovery in 2004, graphene has shown exceptional properties: extremely high mobility of electric charge, high mechanical strength, excellent thermal conductivity, high surface area and it is impervious to all common gases. The Innovation Center realized working NFC antennas with different graphene derivatives. Once integrated with a commercial IC the flexible graphene NFC antennas are fully functional, and can interact with any commercial smartphone or reader. These antennas were laminated on plastic, on paper, or even on fabric substrates, showing high flexibility and chemical stability. The processes used for the realization of the devices avoid chemical etching and high temperature processes, are scalable and environmentally friendly. Many working prototypes for IoT applications were realized by the Innovation Center: electronic keys, smart cards, wearable NFC fabric bracelets, flexible NFC tags, smart posters, etc. The Innovation Center is looking for industrial partners that has the ability to create, as starting point, a small pilot in order to move from lab-scale to industrial scale production and to validate the quality of the devices. If the company is interested in the commercialization of the final product, the Innovation Center will evaluate together with the company the suitable commercial agreement to continue the collaboration, preferably via licence agreements.
Advantages and innovations
NFC, Near Field Communication, devices are nowadays more and more used to identify objects; they are employed in several fields as the tracking and management of inventories, assets, people, animals, in contactless payment systems, in security cards, social networking, etc. Graphene NFC antennas open a new scenario in the field of the flexible electronics and communication technology. The high conductivity and high flexibility of graphene papers make the processing and transfer of the paper easy on a wide variety of substrates materials, with no need of high temperature processes, and can be applied both on flat or curved objects. Being composed of carbon, the paper will be highly chemically and thermally stable; it is resistant to acids, oxidation, high temperature and saline environments. The processes used for the realization of these applications are scalable, environmentally friendly and make use of a technology already present in the industries. Moreover, there is no danger of releasing heavy metal ions into the environment caused by the chemical etching of metals in the production or from the dispose of the devices. Finally, the novelty of the material and the fabrication process can be exploited for anti-counterfeiting applications.
Prototype available for demonstration
Intellectual Property Rights (IPR)
Patent(s) applied for but not yet granted
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