Butterfly inspires anti-counterfeiting tech

Blue Morpho wing texture NanoTech Security is turning to the iridescent Blue Morpho butterfly for inspiration as it develops an anti-counterfeiting marker.

The technique works by using an electron beam to drill holes smaller than the wavelength of light into a material. Then, when light catches the holes at the right angle a bright, flickering image is revealed.

“The structures we’re using are very similar to the ones on butterfly wings. Iridescent wings are transparent or semi-transparent. They use layers of material to absorb light and highly evolved nanostructures to reflect light,” Clint Landrock, NanoTech’s chief technology officer, said.

Talking to The Globe and Mail, Landrock explained that the technique is easily scalable. While the initial etching needs a cleanroom and specialist equipment, it can be replicated on machines used for conventional holograms.

NanoTech thinks this approach puts the barrier to copying too high for counterfeiters, but makes the marker financially viable for commercial use. Having developed the approach since spinning out from academia, NanoTech expects the first commercial uses to reach market this year.

Blue morpho wing texture image courtesy of Shutterstock

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