Advanced Dual-Interface Memory Uses Energy Harvesting for Battery-Free System Design

GENEVA,  /PRNewswire/ — STMicroelectronics (NYSE: STM), a global semiconductor leader serving customers across the spectrum of electronics applications, is taking the first step to extending its family of RFID/NFC wireless memory ICs with a new 16-Kbit device that can also harvest enough energy to enable small electronic items using it to become completely battery-free electronic applications.

Energy harvesting converts energy captured from the surrounding environment into electrical energy to powering small systems. Ambient energy is available in a variety of forms, such as radio waves, waste heat, kinetic energy from movement by a user, or wind or solar energy, is freely available, and has no CO2 or other emissions. Utilizing this energy also saves designers relying on sources such as batteries or an external power supply, which can increase costs, impose size and weight restrictions, or complicate installation. Freeing equipment from power cables or any need to recharge or replace batteries, energy harvesting technology promises lower ownership costs and is gaining widespread consumer interest.

ST’s dual-interface memories, including the new 16-Kbit device, feature a low power I2C interface, as well as a 13.56-MHz ISO15693 contactless RF interface. This RF interface can harvest ambient radio waves emitted by RFID reader-writers and convert those waves into a voltage output that may be used to power other electronic components.

The energy harvesting capability of the EEPROM will enable new types of miniaturized electronics. ST has demonstrated the M24LR16E energy-harvesting wireless memory by illuminating indicator LEDs as well as by powering its battery-less STM8L-based Discovery 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 products.

Further information on ST can be found at www.st.com.

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