Is Quantum Dots poised to become the future in security printing, brand protection and other key areas?

IQDEMY Quantum Technology SA (Sierre, Switzerland) introduced and displayed its Quantum Dots (QD) technology at the InPrint 2017 tradeshow in Munich, Germany November 16-18, 2017. Among other important applications, it can provide for unique, individualized and non-breakable authentication of brand products as well as security applications. Basically, a Quantum Dot is an extremely tiny semiconductor particle that’s only about 2-10 nm in size – or in other words, 10-50 atoms! These particles were produced by treating semiconductor nanocrystals in a certain way, so that artificially synthesized nanocrystals result. Nanocrystal semiconductor particles differ in optical and electronic properties from that of larger particles.

Vladislav Mirchev.
Vladislav Mirchev.

Depending on the treatment of the nanocrystals, many different types of Quantum Dots can be achieved. In the case of IQDEMY’s Quantum Dots, when UV light or electricity is applied, they will emit light in a certain visible spectrum. The colour of the light depends, again, on the size of the Quantum Dot. The smallest particles will emit a violet colour. And the larger the particles, the light spectrum from violet to blue, green, yellow and red, will also be covered. As the size of the Quantum Dots can be precisely determined in shape, size and material, different colour frequencies can be realized. This opens up a host of applications in the security printing and brand protection industry, as well as in many other fields. “IQDEMY’s Quantum Dot technology enables us to help our customers in protecting their brands, and enables a highly secure solution for printing applications that’s photo-stable, lightness-resistant and unique to each,” said Vladislav Mirchev, CEO of parent company IQDEMY Holding. “In addition, our unique technology enables us to enter new markets beyond our traditional leading involvement the printing industry, thus increasing business opportunities.”

Possible applications. Today, security printing, brand protection and authentication are vast and important areas. In fact, it’s estimated that $1.5 trillon (USD) is lost each year due to counterfeits. IQDEMY’s Quantum Dots Ink, available for UV as well as aqueous applications, enables printers and brand owners to secure and protect their investments. Counterfeits can be easily detected, the company stressed. Moreover, as there are 4.3 billion variants within the four-colour process, not one formula is identical to another. IQDEMY’s Quantum Dots Ink composites cannot be broken by any digital or other methods, making it “probably the most unique and counterfeit-secure solution on the market,” according to the company.

Within the display market, production of nanocrystals for LED displays for television, mobile phones and transistors for computers, tablets, etc. is possible. Also, generation of components for semiconductor lasers can be executed. Within the oil exploration industry, Quantum Dots can be used for the production of oil additives (tracers), so that wells can be drilled more strategically because the optimal location for oil and gas field development can be pinpointed. Medical and biochemistry applications can also benefit greatly from the technology. Highly sensitive cellular imaging, anatomical control systems, diagnosis of cancers, severe viruses, in-vitro imaging of pre-labeled cells, as well as future applications such as imaging of single-cell migration in real time, are possible.

Production of printing compounds to increase solar battery efficiency in consumer and aerospace industries is another possible application. Quantum Dots enables production of sensors for radioactive ions, explosives and biological poison identification used in confronting terrorism and other security breaches. Within the agriculture industry, the technology will make it possible to produce light-converting coatings, that in turn, will increase yield and speed of fruit plants ripening in greenhouses.

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Tony Curcio is the editor of Graphic Arts Magazine.