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  • Textile Marker Approaching Commercial Reality

Photonics Spectra
Aug 2005
Scientists at Oak Ridge National Laboratory in Tennessee are confident that a textile marking system that they developed with funding from the Small Business Administration not only will help to identify illegally imported goods, but also will enable unique applications in security and copyright protection.

Glenn O. Allgood, a senior research engineer at the lab and leader of the team, explained that the marking technology encodes information into fiber, woven fabric or finished products using luminescent dyes or nanoparticle-based pigments, depending on need. To read the information -- be it in the form of figures, logos or merely the presence of the taggant -- the user excites the test sample with IR radiation and detects any response.

In a recently completed round of tests, the scientists investigated properties of the taggants such as colorfastness and confirmed that the marking technology is compatible with the textile manufacturing process. In the next stage of the development process, they will explore whether marking affects fabric quality. Allgood noted that they are working with a company to develop a reader from off-the-shelf components to make the system more affordable.

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