Radio-equipped electronic identity tags and sensors may soon broadcast prices, expiration dates, and other useful information from myriad objects, ranging from aspirin bottles to zoo cages. Now, researchers in the Netherlands have demonstrated a new type of electronic memory that they say could make those tags both physically tough and extraordinarily cheap.
The key is to make the memory out of two types of plastic, says Ronald C. G. Naber of the University of Groningen. One is a semiconducting polymer. The other, chemically similar to Teflon, is ferroelectric: It becomes electrically polarized when expose