UK to secure research package with CSIRO

UK to secure research package with CSIRO

Europe is set to benefit from collaborative Australian and UK research into anti-counterfeiting. The world's leading Optical Variable Device (OVD) will be manufactured in the UK under a new agreement between Australia's CSIRO and the UK's CCLRC Rutherford Appleton laboratory (RAL).

The agreement brings about the commercialisation of CSIRO's Exelgram and Vectorgram high security anti-counterfeiting technologies.

Vectorgram is CSIRO's new generation OVD technology that produces two or more optical fields from a single image pixel, offering an enhanced range of optical effects including hidden micrographic and macrographic images and other new effects for high security printing.

Up until now, the CSIRO have been singularly responsible for the production and development of Vectorgrams. The original Vectorgram file is kept on a singlemaster plate, from which the technology can be duplicated. To reproduce a Vectorgram requires advanced laser technology, and this is where RAL steps in. According to Dr Robert Lee of the CSIRO, RAL provides the latest high resolution beams for disk lithography (printing using a smooth surface). The VB6 electron lithography machines can replicate data from a master plate, onto blank film, at a rate of several hundred metres per second, with each VB6 machine being worth approximately AU$10 million.

CSIRO hopes there will be up to six origination centres, situated in various parts of Europe. Its facilities will hopefully be the template for these centres; RAL provides both the advanced technology that the CSIRO requires, as well as high levels of security.

"RAL allows us to licence to other sites, each of which needs to be highly secure. It's a way of moving the CSIRO's technology out of the CSIRO and closer to consumers," said Dr Lee.

European based security printing groups are as such expected to benefit from increased accessibility to this new technology. So far, the UK security industry has responded well, with the Australian technology touted as the most advanced and secure anti-counterfeiting technology in the world today. There are, however, rigorous guidelines for its use, as only those groups with verified security credentials have access to it.

The portability of the Vectorgram has been made possible by the joint development of a special software package called Paltek. Paltek enables Leica Microsystems Lithography's VB6 electron beam machines to receive proprietary files from customers. These are then combined with palette based microstructure data files, which can be used to create more master plates for the CSIRO's OVR technologies.

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