G&D: Verifying the authenticity of banknotes with mobile phones

Screen shot 2012-12-12 at 09.27.44MAGnite is the latest interactive Giesecke & Devrient (G&D) security feature for banknotes. This feature is based on the interaction between special color pigments and simple magnets, such as those found in the speakers of mobile phones. These color pigments align along the magnetic field lines when the banknote is placed over a magnet and make the feature visible. A high-contrast change of the image appears on the banknote, allowing users to verify its authenticity instantly. The image can be generated by any magnet that is readily available, such as those used in handbag clasps, or those employed in electronic theft-prevention systems at store checkout counters.

MAGnite is based on functional pigments in specific inks. In order to ensure that an instantaneous switch between two color effects takes place reliably at any time, the pigments are enclosed and protected in highly durable microcapsules, which were developed by G&D. The pigments in the capsule must have full freedom of movement so that they can be aligned in any desired direction when external magnetic forces act upon them to reveal their color in a certain pattern. Different types of magnets produce different patterns or images. For instance, when a mobile phone is used, a rounded oval effect can be observed. By contrast, a streak effect is created when the banknote is verified using the magnets integrated in the electronic theft-protection systems found in retail stores.
The MAGnite feature is quick and easy to use, and the optical effects are easily recognized,” says Bernd Kümmerle, Head of the Banknote Printing Division at G&D. “The new security feature is so dynamic and practical that it offers the general public a sound alternative to watermarks and security threads.
Clear and easily verifiable security features are important to safeguarding public trust in a currency. The more complex the technology behind these features becomes, the more difficult it becomes for potential counterfeiters to reproduce these features. G&D aims to be at least one step ahead of counterfeiters at all times, even in the digital age, which is why the company develops a new security feature each year.
Security features for banknotes fall into two categories. In addition to elements that the general public can easily verify, there is another group of security features that allow retailers, banks, and cash-in-transit companies to assess the authenticity of banknotes. The hidden features of the highest level of security are the exclusive domain of central banks and can be checked with special technology only.

 

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