Nominating Organziation: Meta Materials Inc.

Product, Feature or Process Owner/s

META Authentication Design Team: Clint Landrock, VP Technology & Innovation, Kyle Norby, Creative Technical Director, Nicole Chang, Senior Product Designer

Project Description

QUANTUM™ stripe ‘inspired by nature’ is a nano-optic OVD developed to enable new dimensions of security and storytelling in the authentication industry. Meta Materials launched QUANTUM as the world’s first fully animated nano-optic banknote security product. This revolutionary new product is based on META’s award-winning KolourOptik® technology. The origination was first showcased at the Currency Conference, held May 15-18, 2023, in Mexico City. QUANTUM combines multi -directional movement, 3D stereo depth, high resolution, and multiple colours to deliver unique visual effects that are easy to authenticate and difficult to replicate. Our pure plasmonic colour pixels patterned on ultra-thin microstructures create ‘always on’ effects that are unique, simple to understand, memorable and highly secure. QUANTUM and its platform technology demonstrate innovation in banknote durability, visual effects, manufacturing techniques, and software that significantly improves the efficiency, effectiveness, safety, environmental protection, and resiliency of banknote security features.

Improvement of the Banknote or Printing Process

• Compatible with existing application equipment: This does not need investment or additional machinery. It is compatible with existing production print processes, including litho, intaglio, screen, numbering, varnishing and single note examination.

• Ease of Integration: Reduced manufacturing complexity, cost effective to produce vs than competing high-end OVDs such as micro-optics and optical thin-film micro-mirrors. Despite recent emerging technologies, superimposing multiple advanced features typically increases thickness and number of materials required, leading to greater manufacturing difficulty, lower yields, and ultimately higher cost of the note. Our innovation transcends these issues by imposing novel combinatory features beyond typical single-function designs, all while staying sustainable.

• Optimized & Durable: At less than 10 μm applied thickness, QUANTUM meets all industry standard durability testing, with exceptional results. It is optimized for minimal sheet distortion for onward manufacturing processes. The company has conducted industry standard tests including chemical resistance, crumpling, and abrasion performance tests, independently validated by third party labs, Ugra and UnderCurrency.

• Single note examination – QUANTUM’s compatibility with single banknotes inspection system allowed manufacturers and Central Banks to efficiently manage quality standards, waste reduction and optimal yield. The camera system and our machine-readable features guarantee complete production monitoring, through continuous control and global traceability at each process step. It delivers a total quality control of the final banknote combined with customized data management.

• Compatible with all substrates: paper, polymer, and hybrid. Open to working with members of the IACA to offer this next-gen product across various banknotes.

• Recycling – QUANTUM visual effects are produced from a single layer of embossed structures. It is compatible with existing machine systems and banknote recycling processes. Metamaterials ‘do more with less’, using a fraction of the material of competing micro-lens solutions, there is no need for laminated layers of lens-arrays, focal spacers, inks or dyes, making it sustainable and easy to recycle.

Innovation and Unique aspects

This project represents a significant milestone in the authentication industry, offering a unique combination of visual cues that are easy to authenticate but extremely challenging to replicate. This technology has the potential to raise the bar in the fight against counterfeiting, enabling governments, central banks and issuing authorities to enhance security while delivering an engaging and intuitive validation experience. Complete customization of unique visual effects allows META to bring a full-color, animated scene to life.

Highly secure – Our unique nano-optic manufacturing processes are not commercially available. This technology is simply not available to counterfeiters, neither is the equipment open for consumer applications, resulting in a highly secure feature.

Effectiveness as a security feature – QUANTUM’s true customization ensures complete integration into a banknote design story. Clear, easily understood scenes are recognized within micro-seconds, reinforced with layers of detail, full colour effects, iconography, movement, depth, interactive animations, and hidden elements. This is one of the best level 1 security features that supports intuitive public authentication with no additional education required.

The feature’s signature effects include:
GLIDE – Images at multiples layers of depth that move in opposite directions.
REVEAL – Shapes that move in opposite directions to reveal and conceal an image.
DRIFT – Simple patterns that move in a single direction.
MESH – Multi-layered patterns that move in all directions.

As you glance at the ‘inspired by nature’ note, it triggers the following unique authentication effects:
HIVE – Keyhole mesh effect, offering a 3D view of the synergy of the hive.
BEE/FLOWERS/GRASS – Glide effect applied to flowers and hovering bee with 3D see-through, fluttering wings.
COUNTER – “30” Counter with 3D, animated effect. Hexagons exhibit fast movement with glide effect.

These unique combination of authentication effects are extremely difficult to replicate thus stumping counterfeiting attempts and protecting the public. We offer the technology of tomorrow, today!

Environmental Impact

QUANTUM™ visual effects are produced from a single layer of embossed structures.

• Reduce the quantity and variety of material for enhanced sustainable security.
• Reduce the number of production variables while increasing durability and consistency.
• Single-layer metallized nanostructures, without inks, lenses, or lamination.
• Secure production facility powered by clean, 100% renewable hydroelectric energy.
• Plasmonic metastructures require no dyes, inks, micro-lenses, or gratings.

In conclusion, QUANTUM™ improves the efficiency, effectiveness, safety, and resiliency of a banknote security feature. Besides innovation and uniqueness, its exceptional authentication effects and nanotechnology processes are highly secure and simply not available to counterfeiters, neither is the equipment open for consumer applications. The inherent strength and integrity of nanoscale structures guarantee a highly durable feature with an ultra-thin form factor, with optimal print machine throughput and efficiency. This should win an award as it redefines what’s possible in anti-counterfeiting and authentication, while staying environmentally sustainable. Our greener & simplified manufacturing processes require less processing and less materials than alternative security features. The combination of nano-scale origination, proprietary algorithms, and specialized manufacturing techniques result in a new standard of counterfeit deterrence.

Following the mission of the IACA – to promote and encourage excellence in the cash cycle, the ‘Inspired by Nature’ note demonstrates the first production-ready, fully plasmonic, fully animated nano-optic security product. It ushers in a new era of security, as it is the only “all-in-one” feature that delivers four elements in a single OVD (3D depth, animated movement, multi-color, always visible.)


Categories: Technical Awards 2024
Tags: Best New Banknote Feature Product or Process