US – New Mexico-based nanotechnology company, UbiQD has partnered with Swiss security company Sicpa to create anti-counterfeit security inks using quantum dot technology.

Quantum dots (QDs) are semiconductor nanoparticles that exhibit high-efficiency photoluminescence over a wide range of tunable colors, making them effective at imparting unique optical properties.

Their ability to emit different wavelengths of light means they are also being developed as an alternative to dyes and pigments for security features, as they are very difficult to reproduce, so are useful in combating counterfeiting.

Under the partnership, Sicpa will use the technology to create an ink that cannot be replicated to ensure security for those that implement it.

This technology can be added to any packaging or document to prevent counterfeits from passing through.

Scott Haubrich, R&D director of SICPA USA said: “This partnership with UbiQD has enabled us to develop cutting-edge optical and machine-readable features.

“We will be able to add to our robust portfolio of security inks and solutions for our clients.”

The optical properties of Quantum dots can be programmed into the materials by modifying the conditions in which they are manufactured, leading to different sizes, shapes and compositions.

This gives them an advantage over the current generation of security inks, which have optical spectra potentially vulnerable to reproduction.

Security features based on QDs are inherently very difficult to reproduce and can be used to combat counterfeiting and strengthen security applications, the companies explain.

Previously development of QD production for these applications has been hampered by the high cost of the technology and possible toxicity issues, it has been claimed.

The two companies have been co-developing QD-based security features for the past six years.

“With SICPA’s domain expertise and leading position in security markets, and its proprietary sensor and ink technologies, UbiQD has an ideal partner to commercialize our quantum dot technology for anti-counterfeiting, brand protection, supply chain integrity, and more,” commented Hunter McDaniel, UbiQD CEO.

This comes at a time when counterfeit labels have posed to be a common problem in the pharmaceutical packaging industry.

Companies have recently been working on innovative solutions to combat the issue. UbiQD’s use of quantum dots offers a new solution.

Earlier, Antares Vision and Edgyn partnered to provide an authentication solution to help combat counterfeiting in the pharmaceutical industry.

They created a digital fingerprint for every package, an undetectable signature based on a product’s physical characteristics.

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