News and Reviews (June 2015)

Anti-Counterfeit Features

Application perspective for maskless lithography

Counterfeiting of goods has huge economic consequences with an estimated global loss of $654 billion per year. This negative economic impact hits many different product categories ranging from medicine, electronics and watches to counterfeit documents like money and IDs. [1]

To fight product counterfeiting, manufactures nowadays have many anti-counterfeit technologies available. A whole industry is dedicated to provide security features that enable the authentication of products and deter product imitators based on difficulty or costs to replicate these features.

Most common features today belong to the class of security level 1. These overt features can be authenticated by naked eye or tactile sense therefore being user verifiable without the need of additional tools. [2] Most prominent examples known to the public from many banknotes found around the world are holograms, color-flipping or fine-line prints. Recent developments incorporate transparent windows into polymer banknotes that contain a diffractive optical element. [3] When illuminated with coherent light from a laser pointer, a previously hidden image can be projected on a flat ­surface for authentication.

Fabrication of these features requires constructing a master using high-­resolution lithography methods as a first step. This master is finally mass-replicated using stamping or roll-to-roll fabrication to get the security labels. Nanoscribe‘s high-resolution 2D and 2.5D patterning capabilities enable the mastering of high-resolution overt features like fine-line prints, diffractive color prints or diffractive optical elements in one lithography step. The examples of the photonic color image [fig. 1] and the diffractive optical element [fig. 2] projecting our company logo were fabricated using a Photonic Professional GT to demonstrate the feasibility for these applications. For further questions on this topic, please contact us via

QR-code_IP-Dip_Cent.jpg optical-element.jpg

Fig. 1 (left) Example of a colorful QR code consisting of diffractive dot arrays.
Fig. 2 (right) Diffraction pattern after passing through a polymer diffractive optical element directly fabricated with a Photonic Professional GT. 


[2] Anti-counterfeit Technologies for the Protection of Medicines

[3] WinDOE™,