HKU presents microscale 3D printer for anticounterfeiting labels


A team from the University of Hong Kong (HKU) has developed a high-precision 3D printing method that can produce new polarisation-encoded 3D anticounterfeiting labels.

According to the team, led by Dr Ji Tae Kim from HKU’s Department of Mechanical Engineering, the new 3D label can encrypt more digital information than a traditional 2D label. The work has been published in Nano Letters.

Diphenylalanine (FF), a species of dipeptides, was chosen as a material for data encryption due to its unique optical properties, the team said.

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How do you stop 3D printed counterfeits?

With 3D printing technologies emerging rapidly and a wide variety of industries looking to adopt 3D printing to streamline production and save on material costs, there is a lot of potential for market expansion. In fact, the research firm Canalys has forecast the 3D printing market, which includes 3D printer sales, materials, and associated services, will continue to experience rapid growth and reach US $16.2 billion by 2018.

Canalys Senior Analyst, Tim Shepherd, points out that “this is a market with enormous growth potential now that the main barriers to up-take are being addressed. Advances in technology are yielding faster print times and enabling objects to be printed in greater combinations of materials, colors, and finishes. Crucially, prices are also falling, making the technology an increasingly feasible option for a broad variety of enterprise and consumer uses, restricted only by computer-aided design competencies and printer availability – both of which are set to improve significantly.”

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