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Latest Innovations from the Optical Document Security Conference

21 February 2016

The Optical Document Security (ODS) Conference which took place in San Francisco from February 10-12 attracted 240 delegates from 24 countries and 120 different organisations with 12 table-top displays in the exhibition.

The conference was preceded by ‘The latest Trends in Optical Variable Device (OVD) Developments’ short course that covered non-iridescent and iridescent OVDs, and the latest trends in in optical micro and nano technologies.

The ODS conference is specifically about optical science related to the security of documents. It is the forum where embryo technologies or technologies recently conceived or in their infancy are introduced, to be critically appraised by a technically-focused audience from government bodies, institutions or commercial organisations involved in secure documents. The hope of the presenters and delegates alike is that ‘next generation’ security technologies will emerge from the conference. One example is the ‘Continuous Motion DOVID Security Features’ introduced by Markus Koch and Frank Seils from Sectago. This is a first level security feature that appears bright white upon illumination and reveals continuous motion to the authenticator rather than discreet steps.

The conference also allows the industry to follow those technologies that develop past the concept stage though infancy to maturity, always focussing on the science behind the developments. Thus, some of the papers or exhibition displays feature technologies which were introduced at a previous conference – such updates can be as relevant and informative as new technologies. For example, the use of plasmon technology presented by Hologram Industries, now called SURYS. This was introduced at ODS in 2012 (Extraordinary transmission for an effective see-through DOVID) and then at ODS 2014 (Plasmon Science for a Novel Metallic Glance with a Dramatic and Azimuthal Colour Shift) prior to this year where Jean Sauvage-Vincent from SURYS combined transmission and reflection with the introduction of the Plasmogram™.

Further plasmon papers were also presented from Toppan Printing on surface plasmon resonance combined with electron beam lithography and from the Reserve Bank of Australia, School of Physics who presented the plasmonic pixel.

A wide range of technologies conveniently grouped into sessions of similar topics were presented, and so for the second time, the conference entered the e-age with a session on smartphone authentication. ALISE DEVICES introduced LILIAC® which is a very thin flexible polymer film (10-20µm), transparent under daylight conditions but when the feature is positioned in front of any screen or display emitting polarised light, latent images not visible until then appear. The images on each side of the device are different and do not interfere during authentication using either a smartphone, tablet or laptop screen.

Some of the other topics presented, but not limited too included, thin film coatings and sub-micron gratings, colour shifting features, the use of plastic optics for authentication tools, and examination and authenticity control of secure holograms.

Keeping ‘the best until last’ – which succeeded in ensuring a good attendance right until the end of the formal programme – David Kenny of the European Central Bank gave a presentation on the screening of counterfeit banknotes for latent fingermarks using black powder.