Would exposure to this type of radiation have any effect on tag performance, and would any special equipment be required?
You would need to use a special RFID transponder for devices exposed to gamma radiation. An ordinary tag's memory can be wiped out by the radiation and the circuitry can be damaged, causing the tag to become unresponsive. There are a number of companies that have developed tags that can withstand gamma radiation. A few are listed below.
Smartrac, an RFID inlay supplier headquartered in Amsterdam, the Netherlands, created an RFID transponder that, according to the company, can withstand gamma radiation levels of up to 45 kilograys. Smartrac says the transponder—a high-frequency 13.56 MHz technology that complies with the ISO/IEC 15693 standard—is designed for use in medical applications in which aseptic conditions are compulsory (see Smartrac Launches Gamma Radiation-Proof RFID Tags).
In 2006, a company called AdvantaPure, which specializes in ultra-clean products for the pharmaceutical, biomedical, food and cosmetic industries, introduced the GammaTag, which it says can withstand sterilization by gamma irradiation (see New RFID Tag Withstands Industrial Sterilization). I believe that tag is still on the market.
—Mark Roberti, Founder and Editor, RFID Journal
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