What is the difference between UHF antennas made by a copper-etching process and those using silver paste technology, in terms of performance, durability, cost, etc.?
I have not seen any side-by-side comparison of two identical antenna shapes, one made with etched copper and the other made with silver paste. From speaking with end users and systems integrators that have experience with both, however, I would say an etched metal antenna performs better, delivering maybe 10 to 15 percent more read range. I believe the etched metal antenna is a bit more durable, but it is also more expensive.
Not many companies are making antennas with silver paste now, since the European Union has banned them from landfills. You cannot throw away a carton with an RFID tag on it in the E.U. if the tag is made with silver paste, because the metals can leach out into the soil and possibly end up in ground water.
—Mark Roberti, Founder and Editor, RFID Journal
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