Panthronics NFC reader ICs target PoS terminals

  • November 22, 2022
  • Steve Rogerson

Austrian fabless semiconductor company Panthronics has extended its portfolio of NFC reader ICs with two products for IoT design and PoS terminal manufacturers.

Announced at last week’s Electronica trade show in Munich, they give OEMs more options to design NFC capability into IoT devices and embedded and mobile computing systems.

The PTX105R reader for IoT and consumer electronics devices has a streamlined RF system and is compatible with NFC Forum specifications. It provides accurate digital wave shaping to guarantee interoperability with all NFC-compliant cards, tags and NFC devices in wearable form factors.

The PTX105R produces RF output power of 1W at the antenna and receive sensitivity of -80dBc, giving reliable connectivity in general electronics systems. Its RF performance is said to enable the implementation of designs based on an antenna that is smaller than that required by competing NFC readers.

The PTX130R reader is an upgraded version of the PTX100R, a reader IC for point-of-sale (PoS) terminals that was introduced in 2019. The PTX130R, which is the first Panthronics reader IC to have native support for the Android operating environment, provides a way to add NFC communications capability to embedded computing systems built around a touchscreen display.

It is suitable for PoS and mobile PoS terminals, and can provide NFC connectivity in embedded computing devices. Examples include scanners, automated service points such as self-check-in terminals at hotels, and secure access control and home and building automation equipment that have a display-enabled human-machine interface.

Like the original PTX100R, the PTX130R has an RF output power of more than 2W at the antenna, providing robust connectivity and helping OEMs achieve compliance with EMVCo requirements for payment card transactions even when operating via an antenna that is placed close to or behind a noisy display.

The upgraded features in the PTX130R include ten per cent higher efficiency than the PTX100R.

Benefiting from a sine-wave silicon architecture designed from the ground up for NFC systems, the PTX100R, PTX105R and PTX130R NFC readers are said to offer higher sensitivity, more accurate wave-shaping, higher output power and a simpler hardware implementation than conventional NFC reader ICs based on a square wave architecture.

Developers of NFC-based end products such as PoS terminals and mobile phones could find the performance of the sine-wave architecture means they can complete product development faster, with easier validation of conformance with standards such as EMVCo 3.1. The readers also typically offer a read range some 40% higher than that provided by conventional readers based on a square wave architecture.

“Since the launch of the PTX100R in 2019, Panthronics has established itself as the technology and performance leader in the NFC components market,” said Mark Dickson, chief marketing officer of Panthronics. “The extension of our family of readers allows more OEMs to benefit from the superior sine wave architecture which we pioneered in the PTX100R, and which underpins the superior RF performance of the new PTX105R and PTX130R.”

Evaluation kits for the PTX105R and PTX130R are available directly from Panthronics. They provide a ready-made operating environment including the antenna, to enable design engineers to evaluate NFC performance out of the box.

Panthronics also supplies an NFC connectivity board based on the PTX105R for the Renesas Quick-Connect IoT rapid system prototyping platform. The NFC board is said to provide a fast and easy way to build NFC connectivity into IoT systems based on the Renesas general purpose microcontrollers that support the modular Quick-Connect IoT format. Featuring a Pmod connector, the Panthronics board can be linked to the Renesas Quick-Connect microcontroller evaluation kits.