NIIST lauded for security printing technology

Scientists at the CSIR-National Institute for Interdisciplinary Science and Technology (NIIST) here have won recognition for developing the know-how for indigenously manufacturing fluorescent pigments used to incorporate security features in currency notes and official documents.

Images made using these fluorescent inks are invisible under normal light. They turn visible only when viewed under UV light. Such fluorescent materials find anti-counterfeiting applications in bank notes, passports, and other high-security documents.

For the achievement, the NIIST was awarded the Certificate of Merit under the category of CSIR Technology Awards at the 80th Foundation Day celebrations of the Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) held in New Delhi on Sunday. The seven-member NIIST team involved in the project on security printing materials included Vijayakumar C., Jubi John, Sreejith Shankar P., Praveen V.K., Saju Pillai, Karunakaran V., and NIIST director A. Ajayaghosh.

The significance of their achievement lies in the fact that the inks can now be manufactured in India.

“'We don’t claim that we have developed a wholly new technology, but the relevance of our research lies in the fact that this know-how is currently unavailable in India. We are importing fluorescent materials from companies based in countries such as Switzerland and France. Imports are expensive and fraught with security issues given the nature of the applications,” Dr. Vijayakumar, Principal Scientist, Chemical Sciences and Technology Division, NIIST, said.

“The technology is important because currency security is important for national security. The ability to indigenously manufacture such materials is key to preventing economic terrorism,” Dr. Ajayaghosh said. “Government of India and NITI-Aayog are keen on developing the ability to manufacture them in India as part of the Atmanirbhar Bharat programme,” he said.

What the NIIST team did was to identify molecules that can absorb UV light and emit different colours, and enhanced their stability.

A normal organic molecule will decompose over time under harsh conditions such as sunlight. But a currency note has to last for a certain period of time. A passport had to last longer, Dr. Vijayakumar, Principal Scientist, Chemical Sciences and Technology Division, NIIST, said.

NIIST scientists have been engaged in the research into fluorescent materials for the past 15-20 years. The specific work dealing with security printing materials was kicked off in 2016.

Given the need to continuously update such technologies, NIIST would continue with its research in this field, Dr. Ajayaghosh said.

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Printable version | Dec 2, 2021 1:38:22 PM |

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