Renesas announces combined NFC controller and embedded secure element chip

The RF21S is the first product to combine the functions of an NFC controller and an embedded secure element in one ultra-thin chip, minimizing the space required within a mobile device and reducing transaction times.

Renesas RF21S NFC controller
RENESAS RF21S: NFC controller and secure element on one chip makes transactions faster

Renesas Electronics has introduced the RF21S, a single chip that performs the functions of both an NFC controller and an embedded secure element in a mobile phone or other NFC device.

“In recent years, adoption of mobile phones incorporating NFC functionality has expanded rapidly,” says Renesas. “However, conventional configurations have required two separate chips for the NFC controller and secure element, leading to calls for ways to reduce the mounting space needed. Furthermore, there is demand for more processing power and elimination of the time-lag when communicating with the secure element in order to reduce the transaction time when passing through transit system ticket gates.”

“The single-chip configuration eliminates the need for communication with an external secure element, shortening the time required for gate transactions in transit systems,” the company continues. “The RF21S MCU also incorporates measures to thwart security threats such as forgery and tampering, and EMVCo security certification is expected to be obtained soon.”

“As mobile phones integrate more and more functions, the space available for mounting semiconductor devices becomes ever more limited,” Renesas adds. “In response, the RS21S MCU uses Renesas Electronics’ exclusive package technology to achieve an ultrathin profile (package thickness: 0.22mm) that allows for more efficient mounting design in mobile phone handsets and other compact devices.”

The RF21S is the first of a new family of RF20 series embedded NFC chips the company plans to bring to market. Future developments are set to include new microcontroller products with larger memory capacities, more peripheral functions and improved performance and functionality for high-end applications. Lower cost products for low-end applications and support for Mifare applications are also planned.

Samples of the RF21S are scheduled to be available from March 2011 and mass production is due to begin in July 2011. A combined volume of one million units per month is projected by January 2012, Renesas says.

The company will be demonstrating an Android mobile platform employing an NFC module developed by Dai Nippon Printing and incorporating the new Renesas NFC chip at the Cartes show in Paris from 7-9 December.

Next: Visit the NFCW Expo to find new suppliers and solutions