NanoTech Security KolourOptiks – butterly inspired anti-counterfiet technology
Using nature inspired technology to stop counterfeiting and enhance brand design has been around for the last five years, however, recent advancements and award given to Nanotech Security Corp. made us bring back this subject we covered back in 2010, when we wrote about Cambridge scientists that discovered a way to mimic the colors found on the wings of tropical butterflies in order to lessen the frauds in the future and enhance the security in the printing industry.
In 2008, a team of researchers at Simon Fraser University in British Columbia, Canada, developed a similar technology to use specialized nano-optics for authentication and anti-counterfeiting. The technology replicates the shimmering iridescence of a Blue Morpho Butterfly’s wings, and it relies on a natural phenomenon created through the reflection and fragmentation of light waves on a grid of nano-sized holes that make up the surface of the butterfly’s wings.
Nanotech Security licensed the technology in 2009, and dubbed it Nano-Optic Technology for Enhanced Security (N.O.t.E.S). The technology uses patented algorithms coupled with electron and ion beam technology which is used to drill hundreds of millions of nano-holes into a wide variety of materials. The company successfully created the world’s first master wafer, or master die, that manufacturers can use to reproduce nano-structures in a variety of materials – including banknotes.
Using N.O.t.E.S. technology, the company developed KolourOptiks technology able to directly embed nano-scale structures (50 to 300 nm) into a variety of materials to create brilliant, vibrant visual features (overt) and machine readable features (covert) for security and brand authentication applications.
The nano-images produce vibrant colors and seemingly animated images which allow observers to quickly identify the authenticity of the product to which a KolourOptiks optical marker or tag has been applied. The technology offers ultra-high resolution, multi-angle viewing, and long viewing distance. Requirements for advanced technical expertise and production equipment make this technology hard to counterfeit.
These KolourOptiks can be directly imprinted into nearly any surface including polymers, fabric, metals and even paper, becoming part of the product itself. The optical performance of this technology allows it to be used without mirror-like coatings found on traditional security features such as holograms. They can be applied as a security image on a transparent window in a banknote or other products.
Nanotech Security is working to enhance security for currency as well as many other applications including authenticating legal documents, merchandise, concert tickets, tax-paid stamps, medical & credit transactional cards, visas & passports, pharmaceuticals, as well as for designing purposes where it could be used for product decoration or eye-catching brand and logo recognition, all without use of color pigments, dyes or chemicals to produce colors.
What made me return to this subject again was the fact they managed to develop a way to adjust this technology for inexpensive mass production on various materials and they were recently given the Technology Impact Award (TIA) for
at the annual British Columbia Technology Industry Association awards ceremony.
The award recognizes the outstanding achievement for a technological advancement that has high potential to commercialize within five years, so we might be seeing this technology around us in near future.