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Low-power memory for wireless transponders

Beta sampling across several industries has begun for the MaxArias, a wireless memory product. The MaxArias wireless memory combines the low power, high speed, and high endurance features of Ramtron’s nonvolatile F-RAM memory technology with wireless access to enable innovative data collection capabilities for a broad range of applications. When combined with an optimized antenna design, the product family powers up with energy harvested directly from the RF field. As specified in the Gen-2 standard, the MaxArias chip receives and processes commands transmitted by the RFID reader.

The WM710xx product line utilizes F-RAM memory with passive UHF EPC global Class-1 Generation-2 wireless access in a transponder IC with 4-, 8-, and 16-Kilobit user memory densities. The first MaxArias wireless memory devices — WM71004, WM71008, and WM71016 — are organized as 256/512/1024 x 16 bits, respectively. The devices have virtually unlimited read/write endurance of 1E14 (100-trillion) writes and 20-year data retention. The wireless memory offers fully symmetrical operation for reads and writes in terms of range, sustained memory access bandwidth, and reliability — all at the maximum data rates allowed by the Gen-2 standard.

MaxArias wireless memory offers unique benefits over traditional EEPROM-based RF-enabled ICs:

• Greater RF sensitivity. The WM710xx write operations are zero power,
resulting in no power or speed penalty for executing writes.

• Improved range. The low power F-RAM-enabled MaxArias wireless
memory provides symmetrical wireless reads/writes at 10 meters or more.

• Superior write-speed. With speeds up to 6x faster than EEPROM,
MaxArias wireless memory enables full memory block-write operations,
allowing more data to be stored faster without the required “soak time” of
EEPROM-based devices.

• Block-write integrity. Data integrity is ensured with Ramtron’s SureWrite
feature that prevents data corruption during full block-writes.

• Magnetic field and gamma radiation tolerant. Due to F-RAM’s
invulnerability to magnetic fields and high tolerance to gamma radiation, the
MaxArias wireless memory is an ideal choice for applications that are
subject to magnetic or irradiating fields.

The wireless memory operates over the industrial temperature range (-40°C to +85°C). The WM710xx will be offered in several configurations: a standard “green” RoHS-compatible 6-pin UDFN package, bumped wafer, bare dice, or as a fully tested ISO-18000-6C compliant transponder antenna inlay.

These products are ideal for applications spanning many industries, including aircraft/industrial manufacturing, inventory control, maintenance tracking, building security, electronic toll collection, pharmaceutical tracking, and product authentication, among others. Production of WM710xx family is scheduled to begin in the first quarter of 2010.

“Our MaxArias products will allow system integrators and users to reliably capture, transmit, and store more information using our RF-enabled devices. By employing the EPCglobal Gen-2 RFID protocol, coupled with our industry standard nonvolatile F-RAM, MaxArias can enhance efficiency in today’s fast-paced, global supply chains,” said Dan Secrest, Ramtron’s senior marketing manager.

The company initially plans to focus on the RFID market, specifically high-value asset tracking and wireless metering, among other areas.For more information about MaxArias wireless memory, a white paper and datasheets are available at
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