Fluorescent Dendritic Tags


Modern security applications have improved tremendously through integrated circuit (IC) technology. IC introduced critical advancements in compliance and counterfeit identifiers through unique and covert markings. However, the lack of consistency, quality, and availability of covert marking systems prevent advancement within this field.

Current technologies utilize silicon cores to application specific integrated circuits (ASICs). These circuits are complicated, consume additional power, and add significant area (and cost) to the target circuit board. These current disadvantages result in high price technologies and low quality products. Therefore, there is a need for economically balanced identifier technology for security operations.

Researchers at Arizona State University have invented fluorescent dendrites tags for unique identification. These silver dendritic tags are ultra-thin (<10 nm), multi-branching structures, and invisible to the naked eye. The fluorophore coating on the tags allows these markings to be visible under ultraviolet light, similar to government documents and currencies.

Because the tag patterns are one-of-a-kind, wavelengths and capacitance produce a unique signals. The signals can be algorithmically analyzed to produce a code, similar to fingerprint recognition systems. The unique qualities of fluorescent dendritic tags make them relevant to identification, authentication, and encryption technologies and applications.

Potential Applications

  • Internet commerce
  • Unique identification
  • Anti-counterfeiting authentication
  • Data encryption

Benefits and Advantages

  • Unique – The dendritic tags weave into patterns that are one-of-a-kind and are capable of optical and electrical recognition.
  • High quality – Ultra-thin dendritic growth on electrolyte films, selective coating, and fluorescence characterization eliminates experimental variables.
  • Low Cost – Thin film device may be added to any circuit or substrate with little area penalty and operated at extremely low power.

For more information about the inventor(s) and their research, please see

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Michael Kozicki

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