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Proceedings Paper

Advantages of micro-optics over holograms for document authentication
Author(s): Richard A. Steenblik; Mark J. Hurt; Michael E. Knotts
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Paper Abstract

Holograms have been utilized to authenticate financial instruments and high value products for many years. The security provided by embossed holograms is limited by their low surface relief, typically 0.25 micron, which makes them susceptible to counterfeiting: stripping the hologram from the substrate exposes the complete holographic microstructure which can be easily used to create counterfeit tooling. A large improvement in counterfeit deterrence can be gained by the use of high precision non-holographic micro-optics and microstructures having a surface relief greater than a few microns. An unlimited range of distinctive optical effects can be obtained from micro-optic systems. Many of the possible optical effects, such as optical interactions between discrete elements, cannot be effectively simulated by any other means, including holography. We present descriptions of five Visual Physics document authentication micro-optic systems that provide sophisticated optical effects: Virtual Image, BackLite, Encloak, Optical Black, and Structural Color . Visual Physics document authentication micro-optics impose an additional level of counterfeit deterrence because the production of polymer films incorporating these microstructures requires unconventional manufacturing methods; conventional holographic reproduction processes, typical of hologram counterfeiting operations, are inadequate to faithfully reproduce the details and the function of these micro-optic elements. We have developed mastering, tooling, and high precision/high speed manufacturing processes that can faithfully replicate these complex surface relief micro-optics at low cost.

Paper Details

Date Published: 19 April 2002
PDF: 12 pages
Proc. SPIE 4677, Optical Security and Counterfeit Deterrence Techniques IV, (19 April 2002); doi: 10.1117/12.462713
Show Author Affiliations
Richard A. Steenblik, Visual Physics, LLC (United States)
Mark J. Hurt, Visual Physics, LLC (United States)
Michael E. Knotts, Visual Physics, LLC (United States)


Published in SPIE Proceedings Vol. 4677:
Optical Security and Counterfeit Deterrence Techniques IV
Rudolf L. van Renesse, Editor(s)

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