Taggants for Anticounterfeiting
Product piracy is a growing problem in nearly all industry countries and induces a growing need for brand protection using markers, so called taggants, to identify the original product. AWI researchers identified diatoms, an almost 100.000 species large group of marine and sweet water algae to solve this problem. The filigree three-dimensional shell structures are species specific and consist of silicon dioxide, thus having the same properties like glass. They are temperature stable, chemical and microbiological resistant and the often fractal architecture is of remarkable mechanical stablility. It is with the today available technologies not possible to imitate or copy such structures. Many diatom species live in extreme habitats (polar region, ocean floor, faraway lakes) and it is a huge hurdle to obtain them. In addition, the know- how for breeding and purification of the shells is available only in a few specialized laboratories. Different shells from rare species can be used alone for lower level security or in combination with other shells to obtain highest security. This makes them excellent taggants for brand protection and anti counterfeiting applications.
Features and Benefits
- Particle size can vary between 50 nm (“non public”) and 2 mm (“public”)
- Extreme stable: mechanically, temperature ( > 800°C) and chemical (inert against conc. acids, bases and organic solvents)
- Useful for papers, coatings, printing inks, adhesives, plastics and so on
- Mixable with pharmaceuticals, cosmetics, explosives, consumables
- Optical identification with naked eye, magnifying glass or microscope; haptic applications are also possible
Shells with 1-2 mm diameter are visible with naked eyes, those under 100 µm needs magnifying glasses or an integrated micro-optic lens system. A light microscope is needed for smaller “ non public” taggants. It is possible to mix the diatom shells directly into coatings, inks, adhesives, pharmaceuticals, cosmetics or others and to apply it onto all kinds of surfaces using all established processes like printing, spraying, spotting and so on.
The German patent is approved. A patent for the combination with an integrated micro-optic lense system is appoved for DE, GB, CH, AT and FR.
We look for licensees and manufacturers for the security marker particles. It is also possible to fully overtake the patents.