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12 June, 2020 - 21:29 By Tony Quested

Startup advances hologram technology to foil fraudsters

Iris Photonics

East of England startup Iris Photonics says it has broken the mould in security hologram technology.

Developed by a father and son team, together with an experienced mass production engineer, the Iris Photonics HoloSystem (Iris Hologram) is being marketed as the latest and greatest available product in hologram security. 

This technology from the Witham, Essex business makes it much harder for criminals to illegally forge a wide range of items such as identity documents and high security packaging for car parts, pharmaceuticals and medical equipment such as testing kits. 

Holograms are recordings of microscopic diffraction patterns which, when illuminated, produce three-dimensional images. Due to their unique nature, and the relative difficulty required to produce them, holograms are used extensively to authenticate and verify high security items.

They are an important line of defence against identity theft, credit card fraud and counterfeit goods. 

Unfortunately, as technology has advanced, so too have criminal methods.  Traditional embossed security holograms have become increasingly susceptible to forgery.  

This is where the Iris Hologram steps in. It can rapidly create full colour security holograms with unique images in large numbers, which is said to be a world first. 

The Iris Hologram also allows for each mass-produced hologram to be personalised, which poses an enormous and almost insurmountable challenge to counterfeiters.  

Consumers also benefit from the Iris Hologram’s ability to mix colours and produce a full colour palette. Stable, full colour images created by the Iris Hologram can accurately represent, for example, brand logos or realistic human portraiture.

The uniqueness of the visual appearance created by this new technology will engage consumers since the image created by the Iris hologram is immediately recognisable.

Jonathan Henry Wiltshire, co-developer of the Iris Holograph, said that: “Everyone relies on hologram security, which is used across an incredibly wide variety of industries.

“For example, all kinds of manufacturers use holograms to authenticate their products and citizens and governments rely on holograms in passports to protect identities.

“Unfortunately, a constant battle has raged between the hologram security industry and forgers. These criminals have become more sophisticated, and a line in the sand had to be drawn. The Iris Hologram definitively draws that line. 

“The hologram that we have developed allows for the numbering and personalisation of each and every hologram, even where they are rapidly created.

“This proprietary technology sets a very high hurdle in security that criminals will be unable to surmount for many years to come. To put the effectiveness of our hologram into perspective; even though Swiss banknotes incorporate reflection volume holograms, the images created by Swiss notes are almost unbelievably inferior to those of the Iris Hologram.

“Our technology has been developed over two years in Witham by three individuals who have a combined 70 years of relevant high-tech industry and engineering experience.

“Our extensive understanding and skills have led to the creation of technology that brings a new level of trust to hologram security. We have now developed a mass production system for our full colour reflection holograms which enables us to produce high volumes of holograms of the very highest quality.

“Our ability to enumerate and individualise holograms makes them the perfect security solution for a number of applications, such as identification documents.”

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