Paper Money

Nano Tech Security touts 3D thread for notes

Nano Tech Security is promoting 3D holograms as replacements for two-dimensional holographic strips currently used on some bank notes.

Original images courtesy of Nano Tech Security.

“Imagine … if there was a full color image of Queen Elizabeth and she turned and looked at you, and gave you a wink.”

That was how Clint Landrock, a co-founder of Nano Tech Security in Vancouver, described his company’s work to place 3D holograms on bank notes.

Landrock told the Vancouver Star that such holograms would soon replace the two-dimensional holographic strips now used as a security device on many paper currencies, but which, he says, are often not even noticed by users.

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That would not be the case with the 3D versions, which would also be difficult and expensive to duplicate. As Landrock described it, first, for the hologram, an electronic beam lithography (e-beam) machine creates a form of stencil coated with electron-sensitive material in patterns 1/10,000 the width of a human hair. A square centimeter image has billions of pixels. Next, he says, the stencil is used to make a printing block that is good for hundreds of thousands of notes.


There are very few e-beam machines in the world and most are for research purposes. Nano Tech has one that can print images 10 by 10 centimeters (3.9 inches) large, making it usable for commercial applications. With a 3D hologram that size, Landrock says, “even someone at a till who only has a few seconds to study the bill would be able to spot it, or notice if it wasn’t there.” 

He says he is working with various G7 countries and that the technology should be reality soon.

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