LONDON – STMicroelectronics NV, Europe's largest chip company, has introduced a 16-kbit memory that can also harvest enough energy to enable small electronic items using it to become battery-free electronic applications.
The M24LR16E EEPROM is part of ST's RFID/NFC range of memories. It is a dual-interface memory that offers 40 years of data retention, 1 million write/erase cycles and an RF interface operating at 13-56-MHz compatible with RFID reader-writers and ISO15693-capable NFC devices.
The RF interface is also able to harvest ambient radio wave energy emitted by RFID reader-writers and convert those waves into a voltage output that may be used to power other electronic components. A Vout analog pin is provider for this purpose but ST did not provide quantitative details of the output capabilities of the energy harvest system. The M24LR16E itself requires a 1.8 to 5.5-V supply.
ST has demonstrated the possibilities of designing with the M24LR16E energy-harvesting wireless memory by illuminating indicator LEDs as well as by powering its battery-less STM8L-based low-power microcontroller development kit. Other potential applications include e-paper devices such as electronic shelf labels, as well as industrial automation, sensing and monitoring systems, and personal healthcare product, ST said
ST said thatRFID is now used in supply-chain and retail businesses, and that NFC technology will be included in more than 500 million mobile phones sold annually by 2015, citing ABI Research as its source.
The M24LR16E is in volume production now and available in SO8, TSSOP8 or MLP8 surface-mount packages. Prices are $0.60 in SO8 http://cms.eetimes.com/ContentCreator/SelectContentItemTypeand TSSOP8 and $0.66 in MLP8, for orders over 1000 pieces.
wow, a memory chip that doesn't need to be powered exteranlly! It is interesting product and may be very useful if the harvested energy really can also power a simple low power MCU ans some other simple low power external circuits.
Is it the first commercially available chip that harvests ambient RF energy? Sounds great!
The only doubt I have in my mind is, the RF energy harvesting won't work inside an anechoic chamber...right? So it's not going to pass the EMC?
@Justharvestenergy: you are correct, IDTechEx event is on and there is another one coming up at the end of Nov/early Dec that I will be attending in Santa Clara.
There are already many self-powered energy-harvesting tags deployed in M2M configuration. It was a matter of time before big IC companies caught on. TI has a clear lead in this area.
@Sanjib.Acharya: the energy-harvesting part of the solution is usually isolated from other EMI-sensitive parts of the circuits they are part of. Depending on the design of the antenna for harvesting purposes, you can further isolate the EMI of victim components from the harvesting interferences.