Tamper-proof markings for the identification and traceability of high-value metal goods

Krystian Lukasz Wlodarczyk, Marcus Ardron, Andrew John Waddie, Mohammad Reza Taghizadeh, Nicholas J. Weston, Duncan Paul Hand

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

10 Citations (Scopus)
110 Downloads (Pure)


A customized UV nanosecond pulsed laser system has been developed for the fast generation of tamper-proof security markings on the surface of metals, such as stainless steel, nickel, brass, and nickel-chromium (Inconel) alloys. The markings in the form of reflective phase holographic structures are generated using a laser microsculpting process that involves laser-induced local melting and vaporization of the metal surface. The holographic structures are formed from an array of optically-smooth craters whose depth can be controlled with ± 25nm accuracy. In contrast to conventional security markings, e.g., engraved serial numbers, etched part numbers and embossed polymer holographic stickers, which are only attached to the metal products as an adhesive tape, the phase holographic structures are robust to local damage (e.g. scratches) and resistant to tampering because they are generated directly on the metal surface. This paper describes a novel laser-based process for security marking of high-value metal goods, investigates the optical performance of the holographic structures, and demonstrates their application to watches.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)15216-15230
JournalOptics Express
Issue number13
Publication statusPublished - 22 Jun 2017


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