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NFC system reference design by ams and ST for mobile and wearable

Date: 27/02/2015
ams AG and STMicroelectronics introduced an NFC system reference design for secure contactless transactions supporting sleek form factor of mobile and wearable devices.

The reference design can work with tiny antenna, that is typically adjacent to metal surfaces or shielded by the user’s hand, and mounted in a location hostile to RF transmissions. The ref design uses AS39230 analog front end (AFE) with boostedNFC technology from ams, along with the ST21NFCC controller and ST33G1M2 Secure MCU from ST. The certification includes EMVCo, GlobalPlatform, and Visa, Mastercard, Amex, and PBOC1.

“Through this partnership with ams, the undisputed leader in NFC booster technology, ST customers can enjoy complete NFC turnkey solutions with enhanced RF performance and reduced cost of integration and ownership,” said Laurent Degauque, Embedded Security Marketing Director at STMicroelectronics. “Our common reference design can be easily integrated into various devices including mobile phones, smart watches, wearables, and secure connected devices, and will significantly improve consumer experiences with contactless transactions.”

"ams’ new AS39230 boosts the signal on the antenna, increasing the signal strength up to 10 times when compared with conventional passive load modulation (PLM) methods of transmitting a signal from an NFC tag, card, or card emulator to an NFC reader. In space-constrained designs, the size of the antenna can thus be reduced by as much as 20 times, down to 100mm2 or less, while maintaining the same signal strength. The AS39230 even allows for the device’s metal casing to be used as an antenna, reducing the board space required for the NFC antenna and its related costs to nothing." said in the release.

ST’s ST54E System-in-Package (SIP) having ST21NFCC controller and the ST33G1M2 32-bit secure microcontroller for Universal Integrated Circuit Card (UICC), embedded Secure Element, and microSD-card applications.

ST33G1M2 Secure Element is based on the ARM SecurCore SC300 32-bit RISC core delivers Common Criteria-certified security features and offer large and flexible embedded eFLASH allows future implementations with TSM (Trusted Service Management) infrastructure compatibility.

The AS39230 and ST54E support all important NFC standards governing card emulation, including ISO14443 type A/B, FeliCa at data rates up to 424kb/s, active peer-to-peer bit rates of 212kb/s and ISO18092 communication at up to 424kb/s.

“Consumers will continue to use their phones or smart watches for mobile payments and contactless ticketing only if the technology works faultlessly every time, no matter how they present their device to the reader. By combining the world’s best-performing active boost technology in the AS39230 with ST’s advanced NFC System-in-Package, OEMs ensure that they are not leaving their device’s card emulation capability to chance,” said Mark Dickson, Director of Marketing in the Wireless Connectivity and Power Division of ams.

The AS39230 NFC analog front end is available in production volumes now from ams, and the ST54E is available for sampling from ST. Pricing, reference designs, datasheets and an evaluation board are available on request from the appropriate supplier.

For more information about the AS39230, visit http://www.ams.com/NFC-HF-Booster/AS39230
For more information about the ST21NFCC and ST33G1M2, visit http://www.st.com/st-web-ui/active/en/catalog/mmc/FM143.