Hitachi has developed an radio frequency identification chip that can be used to track and identifiybank notes, tickets and other paper products.
At present Hitachi's Myu chip, and many competing chips from other companies, require antennas through which data is received and transmitted to a chip reader and power is drawn.
This antenna can be between 5cms and 7cms long, said Keisaku Shibatani, a spokesman for Hitachi.
Even though the chips themselves are very small, at 0.4mm sq, the large antenna needed effectively limits their use in certain applications.
The latest Hitachi chip is the same size as the existing model although it requires no antenna. This means it is suitable for use in a range of applications including embedding in bank notes and documents, said Hitachi.
In May, a Japanese media report said Hitachi was talking with the European Central Bank on a project to embed euro bank notes with RFID chips. Shibatani said such a project is not under way at present.
The announcement confirmed that such a project will soon be technically feasible, although several other potential hurdles remain, such as pricing the chips low enough to make it cost-effective and also combating growing consumer resistance to RFID.
The company announced one application for the chip. It will be embedded into tickets for Japan's Expo 2005 fair.
A production schedule for the chips has not yet been decided and neither has pricing, said Shibatani. The chip operates in the Japanese RFID band, which is around 2.4GHz.
First announced in 2001, Myu chips contain a 128-bit identification that is burned into the chip at the time of manufacture, meaning it is impossible to change the number.
Martyn Williams writes for IDG News Service