The blue morpho butterfly changes the color of iits wings through some special reflective structure. The company nanotech security uses a “similar” trick for its NOtES (Nano Optic Technology for Enhanced Security). Using nano holes smaller than the light wave, it creates a kind of light-amplification that generates a similar effect.
Thus, by embossing paper or plastic, it can create bright images through reflection. The holes are about a few hundred nanometers. How does it fit with security? According to them, it could replace holograms used against counterfeiting (the kind of holograms that you find on microsoft official disks). This technology seems to have some advantages:
- It is extremely cost effective. Once the master stamping build, it is just stamping the target, thus cheap and fast in production.
- Easily identifiable by human
- As it works infrared or UV, the pattern could be analyzed by machines using the right wave length (a kind of watermark)
The security relies on the difficulty for the counterfeiters to reproduce the stamping. It seems that it relies mainly on a high barrier entry cost (class 1 clean room) and know how of the company to design the pattern and the stamping tool. Clearly, it would require a funded organization to make it (as holograms today). Nevertheless, I would be interested to see if it would be not possible to reverse engineer the pattern by careful examination through electronic microscope. Another question is how does it degrade with time?
When will we have the first shiny bank notes?