Hitachi has developed an RFID (radio frequency identification) chip that requires no external antenna and makes possible the embedding of tracking and identification chips in bank notes, tickets and other paper products.

As with competing chips, Hitachi's Myu chip requires antennas through which data can be received and transmitted to a chip reader, all of which draws power. In the case of the current generation Myu chip, this antenna can be between five centimetres and seven centimetres long, said Keisaku Shibatani, a spokesman for Hitachi.

Even though the chips themselves are very small, at 0.4 millimetres square, the large antenna needed effectively limits their use in certain applications. The new Hitachi chip is the same size as the current model although 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 this year, 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, the Hitachi spokesman, said that such a project was not underway at present.

The new announcement confirms that such a project will soon be technically feasible although several other potential hurdles remain, such as hitting a low price point and also combating growing consumer resistance to RFID.

The company announced one application for the new chip. It will be embedded into tickets for the Expo 2005 fair that will take place in Aichi prefecture in central Japan in 2005.

A production schedule for the chips has not yet been decided and neither has pricing, said Shibatani. The chip announced Tuesday operates in the Japanese RFID band, which is around 2.4GHz, he said.

First announced in 2001, Myu chips contains a 128-bit identification number that is burned into the chip at the time of manufacture meaning it is not possible to change the number once produced.