New substance to make passports fraud-proof

Scientists developed a new substance that can be used to prevent forging of passports and banknotes.

Last Updated: May 19, 2011, 21:29 PM IST

London: Your passport can now be protected from fraudsters. Scientists here have developed a new substance that can be used to prevent forging of passports and banknotes.

Scientists have developed pigment-free polymer materials, virtually opening the way to new, tamper-proof passports and banknotes.

The polymers do not use pigments but instead exhibit intense colour due to their structure, similar to the way nature creates colour for beetle shells and butterfly wings.

The chemistry involved in making the polymers renders it very difficult for fraudsters to copy, ideally suiting the polymers for use on passports or banknotes, the journal Soft Matter reports.

Andrew Parnell, physicist from the University of Sheffield, who led the study, said: "We now have a painter`s palette of colours that we can choose from using just two polymers to do this. We think that these materials have huge potential to be used commercially."

Researchers used Diamond Light Source, the UK`s national synchrotron science facility in Oxfordshire, to probe the polymer structures using X-rays. This helped them understand how the colours were formed, and how to improve the appearance, according to a Sheffield statement.

The diamond synchrotron generates X-rays around a 100 billion times brighter than a standard hospital X-ray machine.

IANS