NanoWeb® Provides a Solution to Counterfeiting
Counterfeiting presents a global economical and security problem. Fake pharmaceuticals, foods and beverages pose direct treat to the public health. Fake ID cards and passports are serious problem for governments.
According to the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) study-entitled “Trade in Counterfeit and Pirated Goods: Mapping the Economic Impact”-highlights that trade in counterfeit and pirated goods has grown from US$250 billion annually in 2008 to more than US$461 billion in 2013. According to these findings, counterfeit products now represent more than 2.5% of all world trade-including 5% of all imports into the European Union.
State of the art anti-counterfeiting solutions include RFID chips, tags and labels, holograms, tamper-evident closures, special inks and nanomaterials. At present counterfeiters are able to copy most anti‐counterfeiting technologies within 18 months. Many new technologies which are covert and require complicated manufacturing capabilities on a nanoscale would make counterfeiting much more difficult, time consuming and expensive.
MTI has a new anti-counterfeiting technology, NanoWeb® which is not based on optical interrogation (visual or laser-based) or tags. This new principle is based on a minute structural difference in metallic nanostructures fabricated on material surface, which are affecting electrical characteristics.
The ID/labels are invisible even on transparent materials like glass or polymer films rendering this technology very attractive for the direct integration into many products as for example smartphones, displays or watches.
With this approach, a challenge a potential counterfeiter has to face is to discern whether there is a security label or not because the labels cannot be visually seen or otherwise revealed using broadly available equipment.
Furthermore, the technological hurdles to circumvent the security protections of this new label technology are hence extremely high. It requires special nanotechnology tools such as RML® (rolling mask lithography).
The contrast mechanism which is utilized for the efficient read-out of the security labels in the technology is based on small sheet resistance variations. For anti-counterfeiting purposes, NanoWeb® transparent metal mesh conductor is designed to integrate a specific logo, code or any other useful identification and protection information into otherwise uniform conductive mesh.
The reason why it is so difficult to see the labels even with commonly used inspection tools is given by the extremely small size of structural variations on the nanometre scale which are spread over a large (millimetre-scale) area. Due to sub-micron (very small) features of NanoWeb® structures, such ID is absolutely invisible for the eye and even in inspection using regular optical microscope. To capture a full area of a label in order to extract its information using nano-analytic equipment like raster scanning electron microscopes would be extremely time consuming and difficult.