NXP Semiconductors announces thinner smart card chips for ePassports

Published 6 November 2006

Formerly Philips Semiconductors, the Dutch company decreases the size of its own chips by 20 percent to 75 micrometers; ePassports are expected to last ten years, so decreasing the size of electronic components makes room for protective features

With million of ePassports expected to flood border crossings over the next few years, one growing concern is durability. The passports are expected to last ten years before being replaced, but what with their delicate electronic componants, some think this is asking too much. Eindhoven, Holland-based NXP Semiconductors (formerly Philips Semiconductors) agrees and offers a solution. The company announced this week that it will offer smart card chips half the thickness of standard chips, the idea being to permit more space in the already-crowded passport for protective packaging. The new chip, part of a package called MOB6, can be manufactured to a thickness of only 75 micrometers, making them finer than a human hair or a sheet of paper.

-read more in this Card Technology report