NXP PN7642 Provides Single-Chip NFC

The new PN7642 is the first fully integrated NFC solution that includes programmability, NFC RF, and security. It implements closed-loop and other non-payment systems.
Bryon Moyer
Bryon Moyer

NXP’s new PN7642 Near Field Communication (NFC) product replaces two- and three-chip solutions with a single MCU, reducing board footprint by as much as 80%. The system-on-a-chip (SoC) serves physical-access control, authentication of consumables and accessories, and secure data communications. The company doesn’t intend it for typical contactless payments.

The chip integrates a controller with hardware security and an NFC front end. A Cortex M33 subsystem provides programmability; security achieves SESIP Level 2 certification. Because NXP has a strong position in the NFC market, the PN7642 will replace many of the company’s own multichip NFC solutions, but it’ll give customers the benefit of a smaller footprint and lower power.

NFC and the related RFID technologies rely on local fields to exchange information between a reader and a data repository such as a tag, smartcard, or even wearable device. A tag may be active (externally powered) or passive; in the latter case, it harvests power from the interrogation signal to activate and respond. “Reader” chips typically handle only the RF front end, requiring an attached host. “Controllers” integrate a CPU to run the software stacks.

The PN7642 controller chip supports the common 13.56 MHz band and complies with several standards, both for NFC and RFID. It isn’t configured for credit and debit cards, however; point-of-sale systems are beyond its target market.

Built in a 40 nm process, devices are in production now. One distributor priced the chip at $8.90 in 1,000-unit quantities, although it was still awaiting inventory.

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