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Advanced Encryption based on fluorescence quenching of ZnO nanoparticles

Abstract

Encryption is of vital importance in both military and civil fields. Although there have been a few attempts to information encryption and anti-counterfeiting employing functional materials, it is still urgently needed to develop advanced encryption routes that cannot be cracked easily. This paper presents a simple strategy for advanced encryption based on the fluorescence quenching of ZnO nanoparticles (NPs) by acid and copper ions. In this strategy, certain patterns are printed onto a ZnO NPs pre-coated paper using the CuCl2 aqueous solution as ink, to produce an invisible latent image which is only visible under ultraviolet (UV) irradiation. For encryption, the patterns can be perfectly concealed by exposing to vinegar vapour due to the dissolution of the ZnO NPs in acidic conditions; and the decryption can be performed via neutralizing in soda vapour ambient and succedent uniformly re-coating of ZnO NPs. An additional matrix of pixels with encoded grey levels by tuning the dose of the CuCl2 is demonstrated to further enhance the anti-counterfeiting capability. A 4×4 micron-sized matrix with a totally combination of 1.67×108 codes has been enciphered in the latent patterns for demonstration, which makes a huge barrier for counterfeiting. The results reported in this paper provide a simple strategy for advanced encryption, and may inspire versatile applications in the fields of information security and anti-counterfeiting.

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Publication details

The article was received on 15 May 2017, accepted on 08 Jun 2017 and first published on 09 Jun 2017


Article type: Paper
DOI: 10.1039/C7TC02095C
Citation: J. Mater. Chem. C, 2017, Accepted Manuscript
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    Advanced Encryption based on fluorescence quenching of ZnO nanoparticles

    K. Liu, C. Shan, G. He, R. Wang, Z. Sun, Q. Liu, L. Dong and D. Shen, J. Mater. Chem. C, 2017, Accepted Manuscript , DOI: 10.1039/C7TC02095C

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