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Staying Ahead Of Counterfeiters, With A Butterfly’s Help

Inspired by the unique structure of the Blue Morpho's iridescent wings, a Vancouver-based company has created an anti-counterfeiting technology that leaps several steps ahead of holography.

What’s the Latest Development?

NanoTech Security, a company based in Vancouver, has created anti-counterfeiting technology that uses an electron beam to etch nanoscale inscriptions into almost any material. The inscriptions are done in such a way to allow light to reflect off the surface, and in this the developers took as their inspiration the iridescent wings of the Blue Morpho butterfly. NanoTech Security’s chief technology officer Clint Landrock notes that the wings “use layers of material to absorb light and highly evolved nanostructures to reflect light.” The technique was discovered accidentally while scientists at Simon Fraser University were working on better ways to create solar panels.

What’s the Big Idea?

Once considered advanced anti-counterfeiting technology, holograms aren’t as hard to duplicate these days, and so companies must search for ever more effective measures to protect their products. For mass manufacturing, these measures must also be easy and cost-effective. NanoTech Security claims that while the process of creating the master is difficult, duplication takes place on the same kind of machines used for creating holograms. The company has already sent out its first masters, and products that incorporate the new technology should appear later this year.

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Read it at The Globe and Mail


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