Novel design approaches for multifunctional information carriers†
Two design approaches for multifunctional information carriers are introduced. In the first one, quick response (QR) code carriers, which were composed of poly(ester urethane) (PEU) and microencapsulated thermochromic pigments (T-PIGs), differing in color and color switching temperature (CST), were prepared. The obtained material systems exhibited machine-readable QR codes at 23 °C and a two-stage decolorization when heated, culminating in unreadable QR codes at temperatures above the highest CST of the employed T-PIGs. In the second scenario, information carriers were sealed with a dark, thermochromic PEU layer. As a result, the QR codes were hidden at 23 °C and became readable upon heating due to color fading. Beyond the characterization of the employed components, preparation methods, functionality analyses and durability investigations are reported. When heated after thermo-mechanical programming, pronounced shape memory properties could be verified. The thermo-responsiveness of such multifunctional material systems may qualify them for usage in anti-counterfeiting applications.