Effects of different test profiles of temperature cycling tests on the reliability of RFID tags
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Passive UHF radio-frequency identification (RFID) tags are used for object identification in various environmental conditions, which may affect the reliability of these tags. The effects of different environmental stresses can be studied with accelerated life tests (ALT). Choosing the most suitable test may be challenging: The results are needed as fast as possible, but the failure mechanisms must replicate those occurring in the real operating environment. Here the effects of different temperature cycling profiles were studied by altering temperature ranges, extreme temperatures, soak times to extreme temperatures and transition times between extreme temperatures. Failure times clearly differed between the tests. The test with the fastest transition time and the shortest soak time seemed to have the most acceleration. It was also observed that the different temperature cycling profiles affected the failure mechanisms detected. Cracking of the antenna was observed with lower temperature extremes or shorter soak and transition times. However, with longer soak and transition times, cracks were seen in the RFID interconnections. Both cases led to changes in the impedance matching and consequently to failures. The totally different failure mechanisms clearly demonstrate the importance of carefully determining the test parameters in order to achieve the correct failure mechanism.