There are 174 central banks or issuing authorities in the world who ultimately control the production and distribution of currency. Many larger countries have their own banknote printing works and some of the very largest have their own paper mills. Of the 170 billion banknotes produced annually approximately 20 billion, or 14%, will be produced by commercial currency printers with the rest produced by state printing works.
Nanotech created the world’s first nano-scale master shim. Manufacturers can use this shim to create a production shim for use on production machinery to generate finished nano-hole structures on materials in large volumes, quickly and cost-effectively, and without changes to the inline manufacturing processes.
A master shim is essentially impossible to forge, given the sophisticated technology, algorithms, expertise and specialized lab-like clean rooms required to produce them.
Simultaneously, the technology is accessible and affordable to manufacturers: KolourOptik® nano-structures don’t require additional materials in the manufacturing process as they can be embossed from a production shim directly onto any material. Holograms, by comparison, are printed on separate materials, machine-cut, and then bonded to products and other materials.
Nanotech’s master shims are constructed from high caliber highly uniform materials such as silicon and semiconductor–shims that are similar to those used in the fabrication of integrated computer chips. These robust master shims are then used to replicate subsequent production shims, which can be made of nearly any material but are most commonly produced in hard nickel.
The practical applications of KolourOptik® images are wide spread as the KolourOptik process can be used to create a security feature directly on a wide variety of materials. KolourOptik images can be applied to any product that currently uses holograms, colour shifting inks, RFID or magnetic tags. This could include passports, ID cards and security documents. As well, KolourOptik images are well-suited as a brand authentication measure for consumer products such as sportswear, computer software and hardware, electronics, clothing and jewelry, and even aerospace and automotive parts. Tax stamps used on tobacco are another example of KolourOptik technology uses.
KolourOptik images are very cost effective. Since it can be applied directly to a banknote substrate (in either conventional rag stock or new polymer plastic materials) no additional materials are required for production. KolourOptik images do not require inks or layers of applications to apply, again allowing for an inexpensive application. KolourOptik images can also be applied in a high-speed process and on roll-to-roll machinery using our sophisticated production shim. All these processes can be run at the same time as other features are being added, so no extra time is required for production.
Holograms use standard diffraction and reflection to split light into specific wavelengths or colours, similar to a prism. A KolourOptik image captures the light on the surface, like a light-wave radio antenna, and reflects to create its striking iridescence. As such, KolourOptik images do not require a highly-reflective surface like holograms do, and can be directly applied to transparent plastics which cannot be removed and repositioned on another article. Because KolourOptik images require highly-specialized equipment, patented algorithms and extensive scientific expertise to replicate, it is more secure than holograms. KolourOptik images have an exclusive feature that allows the images to be viewed from either side of a polymer banknote with its attributes being viewed at the same angles or at different angles, matching the customer’s requirements.
Thin film optics is a specific area of optics where very thin structured layers of varying materials are engineered to produce optical effects through interference, refraction, absorption, and reflection. In general, the thickness of an optically thin film is on the order of a wavelength of light, often 1/2 or 1/4 wavelength thicknesses are common. A common example of a Colour Shift optical effect is the colours seen in soap bubbles and oil slicks.
Colour Shift is an optical thin film that has colour shifting layers which reflect a specific set of wavelengths of light to create vibrant colour shifting materials. As the angle of view changes the material will shift from one colour to the next.
Colour Shift has six standard colour shifts that are available, and up to 200 different shades of each colour that can be customized.
Nanotech uses custom built roll to roll physical vapour deposition (PVD) coaters to precisely coat each thin film layer on a web roll of polyethylene terephthalate (PET). Nanotech uses either e-beam or sputtering PVD.
Nanotech can deposit a wide range of thin film materials, from metals such as aluminum, chromium, copper, silver, gold, and a variety of alloys, to ceramics and oxides used for low/high index of refraction optical stacks. These materials include SiO2, Nb2O5, ZnO, ZnS.