New interface chip drives down the cost of adding high data-rate NFC capability to microcontroller designs
The AS3953 offers a high data-rate interface between a NFC device such as a smartphone and any host microcontroller with a standard Serial Peripheral Interface (SPI).
Operating on energy harvested from an NFC reader’s RF emissions, the AS3953 NFiC (Near Field Communications interface Chip) requires no external power source and at most one external component (a capacitor). The device enables system designers to add full bi-directional NFC capability at a total cost less than half that of a typical NFC reader implementation, which can require as many as 20 external components.
The AS3953 is fully compliant with NFC Forum specifications (NFCIP-1 target at 106 kbps) and the ISO14443A industry standard (up to 848 kbps, to Level 4). This means that it can be used in contactless smart cards and as an NFC Forum-compatible interface tag, and can establish instant communication with any NFC-enabled phone in close proximity (<10 cm).
The AS3953 is expected to find uses in a wide variety of applications, including contactless passive programming of MCU-based systems, smart cards with displays, smart retail shelf labels, sensors and ultra low-power data loggers, medical devices, and secured NFC Bluetooth pairing.
It can also enable innovative new approaches to system designs by using an NFC-enabled smartphone as a display host and system controller for normally stand-alone devices, eliminating the requirement for the slave device to have its own display and processor.
The AS3953 features a configurable wake-up interrupt, enabling a zero-power system design while in shut down. It also contains a complete analog front end, 1kB of internal EEPROM, and a 4-wire SPI with a 32-byte FIFO. The device can draw up to 5mA of harvested energy from the external magnetic field, and includes an internal power management circuit that can supply harvested energy to the application. This makes the AS3953 ideal for use with battery-powered and portable microcontroller-based devices.
ams has also announced a new reference design developed in close cooperation with Epson. The design is for a complete passive solution for price labels and smart cards. It combines an Epson S1C17F57 microcontroller, which features a built-in driver for e-paper displays (64 channels), and the AS3953 NFiC from ams.
Availability and Pricing
The AS3953 NFiC is available as a bare die or in a 10-pin, 3 mm x 3 mm MLPD package. The device is available for sampling now. It is priced at $1.59 for 1,000 pieces as a package, and $1.15 as a bare die.
A demonstration board for the AS3953 NFiC is available.
More information about the AS3953 at www.ams.com/RFID/AS3953