Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Plastic Money

08.04.2010
Australia’s plastic bills make life difficult for counterfeiters

Counterfeiting money is the “second oldest profession in the world”—a profession that truly took off with the introduction of paper money. In order to spoil things for counterfeiters, Australia introduced the world’s first banknotes made of plastic in 1988.


David H. Solomon at the University of Melbourne was part of an interdisciplinary team of scientists that developed these bills. In an essay in the journal Angewandte Chemie, he and co-author Emma L. Prime trace the technically challenging route to the development of the plastic banknote.

In 1966, Australia converted its currency from the British Pound to the decimal system. The new banknotes distributed by the Reserve Bank of Australia (RBA) were at the time the most counterfeit-proof bills in the world. However, it was less than a year before counterfeiters tried to put the first forged $10 bills into circulation—ingeniously printed on common office paper. The Governor of the RBA, H.C. (Nugget) Coombs, thus initiated a project to secure banknotes against counterfeiters.

Solomon remembers a photographic expert on the commission, who countered nearly every suggestion with the words, “if you can see it, you can photograph it”—meaning that it was always possible to separate the colors of a banknote, produce printing plates, and forge the bills. “Our idea was to develop materials that could not be photographed,” reports Solomon, “which eventually led to the use of clear plastic films as a substrate in place of paper.” A banknote with a transparent window made of a plastic film is a simple but highly effective security feature. The material selected was a polyethylene/polypropylene/polyethylene film. Two or three of these three-layer films were combined in a hot lamination process to attain the required thickness of 80 to 90 µm.

Another security feature is a small picture in the transparent window that is designed to produce a complex diffraction grating through the diffraction and interference of light. To protect the diffraction grating and to achieve the right “feel”, the entire banknote then had to be covered with a clear polyurethane coating. The team was able to develop a production process that put everything together in a single run: lamination, application of white ink, printing the pattern, hot embossing the diffraction grating, application of the clear coat, and cutting. In stringent tests, the sample banknotes proved to be more durable than the paper banknotes in circulation – to such an extent that the higher production costs were easily balanced out.

In 1988, the RBA first introduced a limited number of a special $10 banknote for the Australian bicentennial celebration (see picture). Between 1992 and 1996, the Note Issue Department then replaced all Australian paper banknotes with plastic ones. “Since that time, other countries have adopted our technology,” says Solomon. “In Romania, New Zealand, and Brazil, the counterfeiting rate went down by over 90 % upon introduction of plastic bills.”

Author: David H. Solomon, University of Melbourne (Australia), http://www.chemeng.unimelb.edu.au/people/staff/solomon.html

Title: Australia's Plastic Banknotes: Fighting Counterfeit Currency

Angewandte Chemie International Edition 2010, 49, No. 21, Permalink to the article: http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/anie.200904538

David H. Solomon | Angewandte Chemie
Further information:
http://pressroom.angewandte.org
http://www.chemeng.unimelb.edu.au/people/staff/solomon.html

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht Researchers identify potentially druggable mutant p53 proteins that promote cancer growth
09.12.2016 | Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory

nachricht Plant-based substance boosts eyelash growth
09.12.2016 | Fraunhofer-Institut für Angewandte Polymerforschung IAP

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: Electron highway inside crystal

Physicists of the University of Würzburg have made an astonishing discovery in a specific type of topological insulators. The effect is due to the structure of the materials used. The researchers have now published their work in the journal Science.

Topological insulators are currently the hot topic in physics according to the newspaper Neue Zürcher Zeitung. Only a few weeks ago, their importance was...

Im Focus: Significantly more productivity in USP lasers

In recent years, lasers with ultrashort pulses (USP) down to the femtosecond range have become established on an industrial scale. They could advance some applications with the much-lauded “cold ablation” – if that meant they would then achieve more throughput. A new generation of process engineering that will address this issue in particular will be discussed at the “4th UKP Workshop – Ultrafast Laser Technology” in April 2017.

Even back in the 1990s, scientists were comparing materials processing with nanosecond, picosecond and femtosesecond pulses. The result was surprising:...

Im Focus: Shape matters when light meets atom

Mapping the interaction of a single atom with a single photon may inform design of quantum devices

Have you ever wondered how you see the world? Vision is about photons of light, which are packets of energy, interacting with the atoms or molecules in what...

Im Focus: Novel silicon etching technique crafts 3-D gradient refractive index micro-optics

A multi-institutional research collaboration has created a novel approach for fabricating three-dimensional micro-optics through the shape-defined formation of porous silicon (PSi), with broad impacts in integrated optoelectronics, imaging, and photovoltaics.

Working with colleagues at Stanford and The Dow Chemical Company, researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign fabricated 3-D birefringent...

Im Focus: Quantum Particles Form Droplets

In experiments with magnetic atoms conducted at extremely low temperatures, scientists have demonstrated a unique phase of matter: The atoms form a new type of quantum liquid or quantum droplet state. These so called quantum droplets may preserve their form in absence of external confinement because of quantum effects. The joint team of experimental physicists from Innsbruck and theoretical physicists from Hannover report on their findings in the journal Physical Review X.

“Our Quantum droplets are in the gas phase but they still drop like a rock,” explains experimental physicist Francesca Ferlaino when talking about the...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

ICTM Conference 2017: Production technology for turbomachine manufacturing of the future

16.11.2016 | Event News

Innovation Day Laser Technology – Laser Additive Manufacturing

01.11.2016 | Event News

#IC2S2: When Social Science meets Computer Science - GESIS will host the IC2S2 conference 2017

14.10.2016 | Event News

 
Latest News

Researchers identify potentially druggable mutant p53 proteins that promote cancer growth

09.12.2016 | Life Sciences

Scientists produce a new roadmap for guiding development & conservation in the Amazon

09.12.2016 | Ecology, The Environment and Conservation

Satellites, airport visibility readings shed light on troops' exposure to air pollution

09.12.2016 | Health and Medicine

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>