NXP slashes smart card IC thickness by 50 percent

October 31, 2006

More design freedom for manufacturers of eGovernment solutions

NXP Semiconductors, the newly independent semiconductor company founded by Philips, is the first volume supplier of ultra thin smart card ICs that are finer than a human hair, or a sheet of paper. The chips of NXP’s proven SmartMX family can now be manufactured to be only 75 micrometers (0.000075 m) thick, which is 50 percent thinner than the current industry standard for smart card ICs. This enables product designs, such as NXP’s new MOB6 contactless chip package, to deliver enhanced security features and durability to address the latest requirements for electronic identification documents such as ePassports, eVisas and national ID cards.

Due to the space gained by using thinner chips and chip packages within a product, passport printers, inlay manufacturers and smart card manufacturers have more flexibility to design solutions with a new structural composition. For instance, it is now possible to accommodate extra protective material - as eGovernment documents can be in circulation for up to ten years - while still maintaining the overall dimensions of the solution. The new chip also enables the design of further security features such as additional layers for laser engraving. Alternatively, designers can create new applications which are much thinner than was previously possible.

"NXP has won more than 80 percent of ePassport projects globally. Based on our market insights, we have made a large investment ensuring that manufacturing infrastructure and solutions are ready to shape the future of eGovernment product and application design,” said Michael Ganzera, manager, eGovernment marketing, NXP Semiconductors. “Our new IC and package delivery types allow solutions which address durability requirements and size constraints for today’s ePassports and into the future as ultra-thin electronic documents become a reality."

The new 75µm wafer will also be incorporated in NXP’s new contactless package called MOB6 for ePassports and other contactless electronic identification solutions. Approximately 260 µm thick, the MOB6 is 20% thinner than existing solutions. As a member of the NXP MOB contactless family, it is fully compatible with the MOB2 and MOB4 packages, which are currently in high volume production.

About NXP Semiconductors

NXP is a top 10 semiconductor company founded by Philips more than 50 years ago. Headquartered in the Netherlands, the company has 37,000 employees working in 20 countries across the world. NXP creates semiconductors, system solutions and software that deliver better sensory experiences in mobile phones, personal media players, TVs, set-top boxes, identification applications, cars and a wide range of other electronic devices. News from NXP is located at www.nxp.com.

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