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Fluorescence lifetime assisted enhanced security feature in travel documents for border control and security applications.

Johny, Jincy; Officer, Simon; Fung, Wei Keung ; Prabhu, Radhakrishna


Jincy Johny

Simon Officer

Wei Keung Fung


Henri Bouma

Robert J. Stokes

Yitzhak Yitzhaky


Border management and security challenges are increasing considerably in recent years. One of the major concerns is counterfeiting and fraudulent use of identity and other travel documents for crossing border controls. This poses serious threats and safety concerns worldwide, considering the scenario of terrorism and illegal migration across the world. Hence, advanced technologies with improved security features becomes essential to strengthen border security and to enable smooth transits. In this paper, we present a novel dual waveguide based invisible fluorescence security feature with lifetime discrimination and a simple validation system. Molecular fluorescence and lifetimes from the rare earth doped waveguides can be used as additional security features in the identity documents. The validation system consists of a modulated excitation source and fast photo-diodes which helps in the simultaneous detection of multiple security features from the fluorescence waveguides. The rare earth doped fluorescence waveguides are embedded into the identity document as micro-threads or tags which are invisible to the naked eye and are only machine readable. Rare earth fluorescence materials have higher sensitivity and selectivity as they absorb only specific ultraviolet (UV) or visible (VIS) wavelengths to create corresponding fluorescent emissions in the visible or infrared wavelengths. Herein, we present the results based on the fluorescence and fluorescence lifetime spectroscopic studies carried out on the terbium (Tb) and dysprosium (Dy) doped waveguides. The different emission wavelengths and lifetimes of these rare earth elements is a key differentiating feature, providing selectivity and security to the detector systems.

Start Date Sep 9, 2019
Publication Date Oct 7, 2019
Publisher Society of Photo-optical Instrumentation Engineers
Volume 11166
Series Title Proceedings of SPIE
Series ISSN 0277-786X
ISBN 9781510630352; 9781510630369
Institution Citation JOHNY, J., OFFICER, S., FUNG, W. K. and PRABHU, R. 2019. Fluorescence lifetime assisted enhanced security feature in travel documents for border control and security applications. In Bouma, H., Prabhu, R., Stokes, R.J. and Yitzhaky, Y. (eds.) Proceedings of the 3rd Counterterrorism, crime fighting, forensics, and surveillance technologies conference 2019: co-located with the Society of Photo-Optical Instrumentation Engineers (SPIE) Security and defence 2019 conference, 9-12 September 2019, Strasbourg, France. Proceedings of the SPIE, 11166. Bellingham, WA: SPIE [online], article ID 1116608. Available from:
Keywords Anticounterfeiting; Border control; Fluorescence; Lifetime; Rare earth;Security feature; Spectroscopy; Waveguide


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