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Nanotag luminescent fingerprint anti-counterfeiting technology

Stefan Johansen, Michal Radziwon*, Luciana Tavares and Horst-Günter Rubahn

Author Affiliations

Nano SYD, Mads Clausen Institute, University of Southern Denmark, Alsion 2, Sønderborg, DK6400, Denmark

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Nanoscale Research Letters 2012, 7:262  doi:10.1186/1556-276X-7-262

Published: 22 May 2012


We describe a method to fabricate, transfer and validate via image processing nanofibre-based, unique security marks (‘nanotags’) for anti-counterfeiting purposes. Epitaxial surface growth of oligophenylenes on a heated muscovite mica crystal results in a thin film of mutually aligned nanofibres with dimensions of tens of nanometres in height, hundreds of nanometres in width and tens to hundreds of micrometres in length. By applying a shadow mask, a film pattern is generated which contains only sparse, randomly grown nanofibres, which in turn represent a unique ‘fingerprint’ of the growth area. This fingerprint can be transferred on an adhesive tape as a label of a product, imaged using low magnification microscopy, digitalised and stored in a database. Infrared surface heating, enforced cooling and load lock transfer makes the fabrication process fast and scalable to mass production.

Anti-counterfeit; Organic nanofibres; Molecular beam epitaxy; Process optimisation