Proceedings PaperPixelgram: an application of electron-beam lithography for the security printing industry
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Following the development of the Catpix I diffraction gratings structure first used on the 1988 Australian plastic $DLR10 banknote and more recently on the Singapore plastic $DLR50 banknote, the CSIRO Australia, Division of Materials Science & Technology has developed a new optical security and anti-counterfeiting technology known as Pixelgram (or Catpix 2). The Pixelgram, which is subject to patent, is an optically variable device based on a computerized procedure for producing an optically variable version of any given input picture, e.g., a photograph. When a Pixelgram is observed under a given source, such as a fluorescent tube, the image of the original input picture appears at particular angles of view. At other angles, the image varies in both contrast and brightness and can even appear as the photographic negative of the original input picture at some angles of view. As well as its ability to generate optically variable text and graphical images, Pixelgram has the unique capability of being able to display easily recognizable small scale optically variable images of the human face of near photographic clarity. Pixelgram optical security device master plates are produced by a technique borrowed from the microelectronics industry and known as electron beam lithography. In this technique, millions of microscopic grooves are written individually by a finely focused electron beam scanning across a glass plate coated with an electron sensitive material. On a typical Pixelgram there are approximately 2,000 million individual polygons etched into the plate by the electron beam. This corresponds to more than 10,000 megabytes of binary data. The only known electron beam lithography systems that have been able to write such large data files with the required precision are the Cambridge Instruments EBMF 10.5 and EBML 300 electron beam systems.