NOtES stands for Nano-Optic Technology for Enhanced Security. The technology is based on the blue morpho butterfly’s wings reflect light due to tiny holes in their wing scales. NOtES was developed in partnership with I|D|ME Development Corp, founded in October 2009 by Professor Bozena Kaminska and her Graduate student Clint Landrock to spin off technology developed at Simon Fraser University in British Columbia, Canada. According to NanoTech Security’s website, this “commercially viable nanotechnology has been designed into specialized optics yielding unique signatures that cannot be reproduced by a counterfeit. These signatures are both overt and machine readable, suitable for a variety of security applications. Applications include banknotes, security cards, ID tags (e.g. driver’s license, medical cards), tickets, software licenses, dvds/cds, Inspection tags (long-haul pipelines, sprinkler systems), drug detection containers (pharma), court documents, wills and court orders.” In addition, the technology could even be used on pills to prevent counterfeiting of drugs; the technology applies tiny indentations and so wouldn’t require federal drug oversight.According to an article by FastCompany, “NOtES exploits an obscure area of physics to accomplish its bright and sharp display, known as plasmonics. Light waves interact with the array of nano-scale holes on a NOtES display–which are typically 100-200 nanometers in diameter–in a way that creates what are called ‘surface plasmons.’ In the words of the company, this means light ‘[collects] on the films surface and creates higher than expected optical outputs by creating an electromagnetic field, called surface plasmonic resonance.'”
The technology consists of nothing more than an array of tiny holes, which means it can literally be stamped into anything–even currency and pills. The process yields a surface that reflects light from ultraviolet all the way into the far infrared, or wavelengths outside what we can see, but which can easily be read by machines. Secure Nanotechnology’s NOtES technology is the only anti-counterfeiting technology that works on ultra-thin substrates, as little as 100 nanometers thick, and doesn’t require an elaborate manufacturing process to lay down multiple substrates.
Clint Landrock and Bozena Kaminska discovered the potential security applications of plasmonics while trying to find a way to increase the efficiency of solar cells. Watch this video to learn more about NOtES, and watch Clint Landrock’s 2014 TEDx talk about how nature is inspiring the field of nanotechnology.