Highly Encrypted Nanoprinted Colorful Digital ID Tags

For Scientific Research & Industry Modernisation.

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Client Research

The digitization trend sweeps the world at an unprecedented speed. Over 60% of the global GDP will be digitized by 2022, worth US$150+ trillion [“Digital Economy Report 2019” UN Conference]. COVID has accelerated this process. There are billions of everyday online connections among people, businesses, devices, data, & processes, which make digital identity (ID) tags the key components sitting at the heart of digital transactions. 

Data security is one of the most critical global challenges in digital economy. Improved traceability and transparency of digital and physical assets along supply chains build up the fundamental trust for conducting business among multiple parties online. Digital ID is the foundation of digital life, critical to link the real world with the digital world. A digital ID contains critical validated digital attributes and credentials for the product to be recognised in the digital world, similar to a person’s ID in the real world. It determines whether the products can be trusted.

Current digital IDs based on barcodes, QR codes and RFIDs printed on products’ packaging are easily reproduced, rendering low-level or no security protection and high risk of physical damage to the ID tags. They have become the main bottleneck for the expansion of digital economy. A secure digital ID with sufficient information carriage, low cost and environmentally friendly nature has been long sought.

Making use of our advanced nanotechnology, the state-of-the-art precision manufacturing and engineering innovations, Innofocus developed a ground-breaking Nano Colour Digital ID with enormous information carriage capability and significantly leaped information security.

Such a digital ID requires no additional tagging. It possesses multi-fold security mechanisms on both the macroscopic and microscopic levels, dramatically leaping the security protection by orders of magnitude. It revolutionises the existing digital ID technologies and is expected to play a significant role in accelerating the global digitalisation by providing an effective security protection for both online and offline transactions. The impact of Nano Colour Digital ID is worldwide with both breadth and depth.

Product Performance

A Highly Encrypted New Security Mechanism

Innofocus developed a new security mechanism, which fundamentally differentiate our digital ID from any existing ones, including bar code, QR code, RFID, etc. It is empowered through the unique “Dual-Mechanism Security”.

At the macroscopic level, the visual presentation and beautiful optical spectrum (Figure 1(a)) can be uniquely defined and read out by specialized devices; at the microscopic level, the information is encoded in nanostructures enabled by laser nanoprinting (Figure 1(b)).

Such an ID can only be duplicated by simultaneously reproducing the spectrum and the nanostructure, which makes it impossible to be counterfeited due to the infinite number of possible designs and required advanced nanostructure manufacturing capability. The mechanism makes the ID-attached commodity anti-counterfeiting and extremely unique to ensure security and privacy. 

Improved data security facilitates the digital transformation of Australian industry and significantly improves their global competitiveness and resilience. It leads to organisational performance improvement by reducing costs associated with production errors, minimising compliance risks, and enabling them to integrate with global supply chains. During this process, tremendous job opportunities in the supply chain across various sectors will be produced, producing enormous socioeconomic benefits.

Permanently Engraved

Our project solves the most critical security, usability and sustainability challenges of the current digital IDs by developing the world’s first colourful digital ID tag that can be directly engraved on products via laser nanofabrication without any additional attachment providing lifetime security protection.

Conventional laser anti-counterfeiting labels are normally attachable stickers, which can be easily detached from commodities and get reproduced. More importantly, the information on a laser anti-counterfeiting label cannot be uniquely designed. Therefore, the identity information of a product cannot be encoded or decoded in the label. In comparison, Innofocus’ Nano Colour Digital ID is directly and permanently engraved into the products as beautiful decorations, which cannot be removed. Due to the flexibility of laser nanoprinting, by encoding the nanostructures, unique information of each product can be defined, which is particularly important for high value products, such as jewelleries, luxury watches, cars, antiques, medical devices, etc.

Existing Digital ID designs are limited to a few fixed formats: black and white bar code or QR code printed on product packages to provide ID information. It has never been thought to be part of the product contributing to the product appearance and attractiveness. The Nano Colour Digital ID is the first of its kind, not only carrying vast amount of information (orders of magnitude more) with unprecedented security, but also forming a beautiful part of the product itself, making it more attractive, valuable and fashionable.  

Below is an example of we engraving Engineers Australia logo on ceramic. 

Environmentally Friendly

From environmental point of view, the use of Nano Colour Digital ID can help to reduce the waste of materials for printing barcode, QR code, or laser anti-counterfeiting labels, as well as the disposal cost. Instead of using additional tagging/labels like the current ID technology, which add extra burden to the environment, Nano Colour Digital ID is directly engraved on the product. The entire manufacturing process uses laser without the need of post process. Thus, it renders zero environmental concern.

Therefore, it will further reduce emission related to manufacturing materials for those tags. Currently, the barcode, QR code, and laser anti-counterfeiting trademark are printed on paper or plastic materials, which will be disposed as soon as the products are unboxed. Therefore, they generate a lot of waste of materials for printing. Different from those tags, the Nano Colour Digital IDs are directly engraved on the product without using extra material and will accompany with the product for its entire lifetime. In this way, by replacing the conventional tags with new Nano Colour Digital ID, a large amount of printing materials can be saved, which is beneficial to the environment.

High-Resolution Structural Colours

The core concept of Nano Colour Digital ID is based on structural colour, beautiful colours enabled by properly designed and precisely fabricated nanostructures. Conventionally structural colours only exist in nature, for example butterfly wings or Australian opals. Man-made successes were limited at fully-equipped scientific laboratories. Real-life applications of structural colour has remained impossible due to the lack of powerful fabrication tools with extremely high resolution at nanometre scale, large throughput, and long-term stability.

Innofocus developed the world-first intelligent laser 3D-nanoprinting system. It represents the state-of-the-art. This award-winning system is capable of routinely fabricating 3D nanostructures with extreme high precision in a wide range of materials with both high yield and stability, thanks to a number of patented engineering innovations and excellence on AI assisted high-resolution imaging, ultrafast laser manipulation, high precision automation and intelligent software control. For the first time, it brings manmade structural colours in life. It brings nanofabrication from lab to fab, making it accessible to different sectors and revolutionising the nanomanufacturing field.

Such Nano Colour Digital IDs represent the next gen products, and their performance is overwhelmingly higher than the current digital IDs not only in terms of information capacity, level of security and environmental feature, but also their beautiful colour and patterns, which constitute unique and attractive features of products, making it a new fashion and adding extra value.

Enabled By Our Intelligent Laser Nanofabrication System and Patented Technologies

Several cutting-edge technologies have been applied in our system engineering to fabricate the digital tags on commodities surface:

1) Colour encoding algorithm: first time using designed nanostructures and colours for encoding the vast amount of attributes information of commodities which is empowered by Innofocus’ world-leading nanoprinting manufacture equipment, linking unique nanostructures with the digital ID information.

2) AI-Vision powered Surface auto-landing: automatic detect the ID engraving position on the commodity surface without human intervention, which allows fully automated manufacturing at high speed and scale of the colourful digital ID. 

3) AI-Vision powered Surface tracing: trace the arbitrary surfaces by auto-adjust the engraving laser to optimise outcomes. This technique allows engraving the colourful digital ID on curved surface with extreme accuracy (nanometer), for example, sunglasses lenses, cell phone, jewelleries, medicine bottles, etc.

For nanofabrication at high speed and high accuracy, it is critical to enable the fabrication system to automatically find the commodity surface for the colour digital ID to be engraved with minimum human intervention. The autolanding function developed by Innofocus with in-built imaging and positioning functions allows the nanofabrication system to identify the substrate and the surface to be fabricated with a position accuracy of 50 nanometre (1/2000 of a human hair). To ensure effective fabrication outcomes on 3D arbitrary commodity surfaces, Innofocus also developed the surface tracing function, which can maintain the fabricating laser constantly on the commodity surface with a step positioning accuracy of unprecedented 1 nm at high speed during fabrication. This can effectively avoid the inaccuracy and distortions caused by any tilt or bent of the surface. It allows the trace of the material surface and automatically adjusts the laser focus in a real time to optimize the fabrication results. For the first time, the laser nanofabrication on curved surfaces is made possible by those two innovations.

Impact on Australia's Supply Chain

Our Nano Colour Digital ID solves two of the most fundamental issues of digital ID, security and sustainability. An integrated colour digital ID supported by cryptography coding that can be engraved directly into products is first of its kind and is expected to underpin every sector of our life including manufacturing, logistics, biomedicine, personal care, supply chain, retail and security. Given the multi-folds benefits, Nano Colour Digital IDs have already received extensive interest and recognitions from the transportation, biomedicine, luxury products and communication device sectors for co-development and trials.

By combining Nano Colour Digital IDs with blockchain technology, which Australia is leading, secure transactions can be guaranteed through both unique hardware and software, providing double insurance on data security, and making the supply chain predictive and transparent with improved tracing and tracking capability. These benefits will eventually help to build company success, customer satisfaction and societal peacefulness, significantly improving people’s life.

A highly secure digital ID increases the supply chains’ agility and enhances their ability to support traceability, provenance, compliance and auditing, enabling better supply chain trust and transparency. It demonstrates the innovative technologies in the fields of nanomanufacturing, integrated devices and sustainability, forming an indispensable foundation for the digitization, advanced manufacturing and innovative material development, providing a new and world-leading technology platform for Australian digital industry and to support the demands of Australian industries’ digital transformation agenda. Improved data security facilitates the digital transformation of Australian industry and significantly improves their global competitiveness and resilience. It leads to organisational performance improvement by reducing costs associated with production errors, minimising compliance risks, and enabling them to integrate with global supply chains. 

Customer Value

Precisely designed nanostructures are directly engraved on the surface or inside commodities using ultrafast lasers, encoding unprecedented information enabled by unlimited combinations of nanostructures, including product origin, certifications, specifications and status in the supply chain etc.