Researchers from Russia’s ITMO University have developed a gel ink that can be used to form multilayered images via 3D printing for the purpose of preventing the counterfeiting of consumer goods such as high-end food and clothing products, for example.

The ITMO team, in collaboration with Bauman Moscow State Technical University and the University of Toronto, used the polymer-based gel to create tags featuring multiple images simultaneously.

Source: ITMO UniversitySource: ITMO University

“We succeeded in developing polymer-based gel tags that can contain several images at once. And every such image is an optically active structure. They can be seen in detail only under monochromatic radiation, i.e. at a specific wavelength, and we can make it different for every image. Meaning that even if the perpetrators succeed in forging a part of the tag, there’s a good chance that they wouldn’t be able to forge the others. What’s more, the difference between the original pattern and the forged one will be immediately apparent,” comments Egor Ryabchenko, a student at ITMO’s ChemBio Cluster.

According to the researchers, the gel tags can be attached to various surface geometries and washed away with an organic solvent that does not damage or leave behind a residue on products being safeguarded with the tags.

Researchers intend to further develop the gel tags using even more complex ink types tailored to specific customers based on their product’s needs.

The research appears in the journal Advanced Functional Materials.

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