ams: NFC smart sensor IC ideal for smart labels used in cold-chain monitoring

ams introduced the AS39513 NFC sensor tag and data logger IC for smart labels which enables more efficient and accurate monitoring of the condition of assets such as food, pharmaceuticals and healthcare products in storage and in transit.  The new device is a complete digital sensor with an NFC front end that can easily be integrated into smart labels. A unique ID as well as logged temperature and other data stored in its internal memory can be read by any authorized NFC reader such as a smartphone or tablet. Smart labels based on the AS39513 enable manufacturers, shippers and retailers to examine detailed logs of the conditions in which individual packages in a shipment have been kept, and to establish for instance whether perishable goods such as fresh food are in perfect condition on arrival.

The AS39513 provides a complete solution for temperature monitoring and NFC connectivity. It includes an NFC front end, a temperature sensor and an analog interface to an external sensor. Other functions integrated in the IC are a real-time clock, a 10-bit ADC, a configurable data-logging engine, a 9kbit password-protected EEPROM and a serial peripheral interface (SPI) to connect to an external microcontroller. The AS39513 is available as a bumped die or in a chipscale package which is only 0.3mm high.

Powered by a single-cell (typically 1.5V) or dual-cell (3V) battery, the AS39513 can store up to 1,020 time-stamped sensor measurements. Fully compliant with ISO15693 and NFC-V (T5T) stan-dards, it can be read over a range of a few centimeters with an NFC mobile phone. An extended read range of 1-2m can be achieved when using dedicated ISO15693 readers, offering the ability to read multiple AS39513 tags simultaneously in cabinets or refrigerators.

The new AS39513, which supersedes the ams SL13A sensor tag, has a higher-performance temperature sensor which offers guaranteed accuracy of ±0.5°C in the critical range from -20 to 10°C, and ±1°C over an extended range from -20 to 55°C.

The AS39513’s integrated temperature sensor makes it ideal for use in cold-chain monitoring pro-ducts such as smart labels used in the food, pharmaceuticals and healthcare sectors. It is powered by the ams Cool-Log engine, which allows for full control and configuration of logging modes and timings. Temperature measurements can be taken at fixed intervals, or triggered when the temperature crosses a set threshold, or by a signal from an external device.

The Cool-Log engine is one of the core innovations in the AS39513 as it offers operational flexibility and ultra-low power consumption without the need for a microcontroller. Drawing just 2µA of stand-by current, the AS39513 can autonomously log temperature data for more than a year on a 30mAh single-cell battery1. This superior power performance enables the use of smaller and cheaper batteries, paving the way to farm-to-fork item-level tagging. The chip operates in passive mode and harvests energy from a reader’s incoming RF field, supplying external circuitry with a current of up to 3mA at 1.8V.

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