Published on 13 Sep 2021

Switching counterfeiters off

NTU researchers develop a new high-security anticounterfeiting ink that responds to changes in light.

Smart materials

Counterfeit money and goods such as microelectronics, software, pharmaceuticals and clothing not only cause enormous economic losses but also put the health of consumers at risk. To fend off counterfeiters, an NTU team developed a novel photoresponsive material for use as high-security anticounterfeiting ink. Featuring a reversible chemical luminescence on/off switch that responds to changes in light, the new ink enables the reversible encryption and decryption of multiple information patterns. 

By remotely alternating ultraviolet and visible light irradiation, the luminescence signal could be switched on and off, allowing the researchers to verify the anticounterfeiting tags multiple times. “Our high-security anticounterfeiting ink can be used to authenticate food, medicine and other goods,” says Prof Zhao Yanli of NTU’s School of Chemical and Biomedical Engineering and School of Physical and Mathematical Scienceswho led the research.

The article “Photoresponsive supramolecular coordination polyelectrolyte as smart anticounterfeiting inks” was published in Nature Communications (2021), DOI: 10.1038/s41467-021-21677-4.

The article appeared first in NTU's research & innovation magazine Pushing Frontiers (issue #19, August 2021).