Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Rainbows without pigments offer new defence against fraud

19.05.2011
Scientists from the University of Sheffield have developed pigment-free, intensely coloured polymer materials, which could provide new, anti-counterfeit devices on passports or banknotes due to their difficulty to copy.

The polymers do not use pigments but instead exhibit intense colour due to their structure, similar to the way nature creates colour for beetle shells and butterfly wings.

These colours were created by highly ordered polymer layers, which the researchers produced using block copoylmers (an alloy of two different polymers). By mixing block copolymers together, the researchers were able to create any colour in the rainbow from two non-coloured solutions.

This type of polymer then automatically organises itself into a layered structure, causing optical effects similar to opals. The colour also changes depending on the viewing angle. This system has huge advantage in terms of cost, processing and colour selection compared to existing systems.

The complexity of the chemistry involved in making the polymer means they are very difficult for fraudsters to copy, making them ideally suited for use on passports or banknotes.

The academics used Diamond Light Source, the UK's national synchrotron science facility in Oxfordshire, to probe the ordered, layered structures using high power X-rays. This helped them understand how the colours were formed, and how to improve the appearance.

Dr Andrew Parnell, from the University of Sheffield's Department of Physics and Astronomy, said: "Our aim was to mimic the wonderful and funky coloured patterns found in nature, such as Peacock feathers. We now have a painter's palette of colours that we can choose from using just two polymers to do this. We think that these materials have huge potential to be used commercially."

Professor Nick Terrill, Principal Beamline Scientist for I22, the Diamond laboratory used for the experiment, explained: "Small Angle X-ray Scattering is a simple technique that in this case has provided valuable confirmatory information. By using Diamond's X-rays to confirm the structure of the polymer, the group was able to identify the appropriate blends for the colours required, meaning they can now tailor the polymer composition accordingly."

Notes for Editors: The institutions involved in the research include the University of Sheffield, the University of Hull and Diamond Light Source in Oxfordshire.

To view the paper, 'Continuously tuneable optical filters from self-assembled block copolymer blends', published in Soft Matter, please visit the link below.

Diamond Light Source is funded by the UK Government via the Science and Technology Facilities Council (STFC) and by the Wellcome Trust.

The Diamond synchrotron generates extremely intense pin-point beams of light of exceptional quality ranging from X-rays, ultra-violet and infrared. Diamond´s X-rays are around 100 billion times brighter than a standard hospital X-ray machine.

Over 2000 researchers use Diamond to conduct experiments in a wide range of disciplines including health and medicine, structural biology, energy, engineering, earth and environmental sciences, solid-state physics, materials & magnetism, nanoscience, electronics, chemistry and cultural heritage.

For more details please visit the link below.

Fusion IP plc (Fusion) was established in 2002 to commercialise university-generated intellectual property. It has long-term exclusive agreements with two of the UK´s leading research intensive universities, the University of Sheffield and Cardiff University, giving it exclusive access to a combined R&D spend of over £185m a year.

Fusion's first agreement was a ten-year exclusive arrangement with the University of Sheffield giving it the right to commercialise (through both the creation of spin-out companies and licensing) research, owned by the University, initially in the area of medical life sciences. This agreement was expanded in July 2008 to include all non-life science research-generated IP such as energy, engineering and electronics. Fusion has significant shareholdings in a portfolio of Sheffield University spin-out companies including Simcyp, Magnomatics, Diurnal and Phase Focus. For more details please visit the link below.

For further information please contact: Shemina Davis, Media Relations Officer, on 0114 2225339 or email shemina.davis@sheffield.ac.uk

Shemina Davis | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.sheffield.ac.uk

More articles from Materials Sciences:

nachricht New design improves performance of flexible wearable electronics
23.06.2017 | North Carolina State University

nachricht Plant inspiration could lead to flexible electronics
22.06.2017 | American Chemical Society

All articles from Materials Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Can we see monkeys from space? Emerging technologies to map biodiversity

An international team of scientists has proposed a new multi-disciplinary approach in which an array of new technologies will allow us to map biodiversity and the risks that wildlife is facing at the scale of whole landscapes. The findings are published in Nature Ecology and Evolution. This international research is led by the Kunming Institute of Zoology from China, University of East Anglia, University of Leicester and the Leibniz Institute for Zoo and Wildlife Research.

Using a combination of satellite and ground data, the team proposes that it is now possible to map biodiversity with an accuracy that has not been previously...

Im Focus: Climate satellite: Tracking methane with robust laser technology

Heatwaves in the Arctic, longer periods of vegetation in Europe, severe floods in West Africa – starting in 2021, scientists want to explore the emissions of the greenhouse gas methane with the German-French satellite MERLIN. This is made possible by a new robust laser system of the Fraunhofer Institute for Laser Technology ILT in Aachen, which achieves unprecedented measurement accuracy.

Methane is primarily the result of the decomposition of organic matter. The gas has a 25 times greater warming potential than carbon dioxide, but is not as...

Im Focus: How protons move through a fuel cell

Hydrogen is regarded as the energy source of the future: It is produced with solar power and can be used to generate heat and electricity in fuel cells. Empa researchers have now succeeded in decoding the movement of hydrogen ions in crystals – a key step towards more efficient energy conversion in the hydrogen industry of tomorrow.

As charge carriers, electrons and ions play the leading role in electrochemical energy storage devices and converters such as batteries and fuel cells. Proton...

Im Focus: A unique data centre for cosmological simulations

Scientists from the Excellence Cluster Universe at the Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität Munich have establised "Cosmowebportal", a unique data centre for cosmological simulations located at the Leibniz Supercomputing Centre (LRZ) of the Bavarian Academy of Sciences. The complete results of a series of large hydrodynamical cosmological simulations are available, with data volumes typically exceeding several hundred terabytes. Scientists worldwide can interactively explore these complex simulations via a web interface and directly access the results.

With current telescopes, scientists can observe our Universe’s galaxies and galaxy clusters and their distribution along an invisible cosmic web. From the...

Im Focus: Scientists develop molecular thermometer for contactless measurement using infrared light

Temperature measurements possible even on the smallest scale / Molecular ruby for use in material sciences, biology, and medicine

Chemists at Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz (JGU) in cooperation with researchers of the German Federal Institute for Materials Research and Testing (BAM)...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Plants are networkers

19.06.2017 | Event News

Digital Survival Training for Executives

13.06.2017 | Event News

Global Learning Council Summit 2017

13.06.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Supersensitive through quantum entanglement

28.06.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy under real ambient pressure conditions

28.06.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

Mice provide insight into genetics of autism spectrum disorders

28.06.2017 | Health and Medicine

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>