A unique technology, based on new fluorescent nanoparticles to effectively combat counterfeiting attempts that strike the global market of the manufacturing industry on a daily basis, for an estimated loss of over 1 trillion dollars each year.
In the sphere of Material Chemistry, an interesting field of research is aimed at the synthesis of new compounds that exhibit a strong fluorescence combined with high chemical and thermal stability.
A fluorescent substance can emit electromagnetic radiation after having absorbed radiation at a different, usually inferior, wavelength. The most interesting examples of fluorescence are those associated to materials that absorb radiation in the UV range and re-emit it in the visible spectrum.
These fluorophores, used as pigments to be added to matrixes of a different nature (polymers, paint, ink, paste, etc.) may be used in a very large number of applications, ranging from the biomedical sector to optics, from the textile industry to decorative and design arts, from quality control to anti-counterfeiting or product traceability along production lines.
In the last few years, high-level luminescence has also been observed in nanometeric systems constiting of clusters of noble metals obtained by a reduction-method from a metal precursor in the presence of thiols as capping agents.
Taking advantage of its experience in precious metal chemistry, Cabro S.p.A. has recently started a collaboration with Punto Quantico, a spin-off of the Istituto dei Materiali Compositi e Biomateriali (IMCB) of the CNR [Institute of Composite Materials and Biomaterials of the Italian National Research Center], which has been working for years on the development and engineering of fluorescent nanocomposites (Quantum Dots - QD) and has developed a uniquely simple and efficacious method of synthesis.
This collaboration has already led to the development of special new products for the anti-counterfeiting sector.
QDs are therefore small, nanometric-sized, fluorescent particles which, dispersed in matrixes of various natures, maintain the physical, optical and mechanical properties of the matrix (and are therefore transparent in the visible spectrum), emitting an intense luminous radiation when excited by low-cost lamps that emit ultraviolet light.
QDs exhibit different colors correlated to the size and nature of the nanoparticles. Due to their inorganic nature, they may be easily and uniformly dispersed in a polymer matrix, paints, gels, inks, and printed on the majority of supports of various types.
The aim of the collaboration between Cabro S.p.A. and PQ is to offer on the industrial market innovative anti-counterfeiting systems based on a unique combination of fluorescent pigments for the simple and effective authentication of original products.