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DNP Develops Lippmann Hologram Manufactured Using 3D CG Image Data

Allows advanced image reproduction for high-security applications, including bank notes and passports


Dai Nippon Printing Co., Ltd. (DNP) has developed a Lippmann hologram capable of reproducing realistic three-dimensional images based on three-dimensional computer-graphics (3D CG) image data.

In general, three-dimensional models are fabricated to produce the graphic designs and patterns used in holograms. DNP has developed a technology that allows use of computer-generated (virtual) images as design elements when manufacturing holograms. This makes counterfeiting significantly harder. In addition to applications involving luxury brand protection, DNP will promote the newly developed hologram for use on items and products that require advanced security, including cash or cash equivalents (e.g., bank notes and gift certificates), passports, national ID cards, and driver's licenses.

[Developmental background]

A Lippmann hologram is manufactured by recording a holographic interference pattern as modulation of refractive index on a film coated with a special polymer. The three-dimensional holographic images are reproduced by the diffraction of illumination light at the interference pattern recorded in the hologram. The Lippmann hologram reproduces realistic images with rich depth information to provide life-like three-dimensional effects. The resulting high design flexibility and security performance have won high marks around the world. Since the manufacture of Lippmann holograms requires special materials and manufacturing processes, only a handful of companies anywhere in the world - DNP among them - are capable of mass-producing these holograms. This makes counterfeiting extremely difficult.

The method conventionally used to produce a Lippmann hologram involves directing laser beam onto a three-dimensional model of the subject and recording the light reflected as the object beam. This restricts the choice of design elements to items or designs from which actual three-dimensional models can be fabricated. The Lippmann hologram developed by DNP uses the diffracted light from a computer-generated hologram* (CGH) as the object beam. Since the technology uses 3D CG image data, the hologram can reproduce virtual shapes impossible to make using three-dimensional models.

* Computer-generated hologram (CGH): A hologram produced by computer simulation. To produce a CGH, a computer generates a holographic interference pattern based on a three-dimensional computer-graphics image prepared in advance. This interference pattern is recorded by an electron beam lithography system - generally used for the manufacture of photo-masks - to create the holographic original plate.

[Features of Lippmann holograms produced based on 3D CG image data]

1. Advanced security performance

The hologram manufacturing technique uses CGHs and electron beam lithography to reproduce virtual high-resolution, three-dimensional images impossible to render from three-dimensional models. This makes counterfeiting extremely difficult.

Security performance can be strengthened still further by combining designs/patterns printed with an optical variable ink that appears as different colors, depending on viewing angle, and designs/patterns printed with fluorescent emission ink that becomes luminous when exposed to ultraviolet or infrared light.

2. High design flexibility and imaging versatility

  1. 3D CG data makes it possible to render detailed, sophisticated virtual shapes, sweeping away many design-imposed limitations.
  2. Multiple three-dimensional images can be reproduced at the same position on the hologram, which are switched by changing the viewing angle vertically or horizontally.
  3. Conventionally, the security elements designed to be difficult to recognize by naked eyes, such as micro texts and guilloche patterns, were two-dimensional. The newly developed Lippmann hologram can record these elements as three-dimensional holographic images, improving security against counterfeiting. Authenticity can be confirmed by inspecting the holographic images with a magnifying glass.
  4. Directing a laser beam onto the designated area of the hologram and directing the reflected beam toward the window of a special device makes it possible to view characters or images in the holographic image that would otherwise be invisible. This feature can also be used to confirm authenticity.
  5. The technology can produce orange-color holographic images as well as green-color.

[Future prospects]

By harnessing this recently developed technology, DNP plans to offer Lippmann holograms based on 3D CG image data for the products requiring advanced security, including passports, national ID cards, and driver's licenses, as well as for other applications, including luxury brand protection and cash equivalents (e.g., bank notes and gift certificates). DNP anticipates sales of approximately 1 billion yen over the next three years.

** Product price, specification and service content listed in this news release are current on the date of the announcement. This data may change without notice. We apologize for any inconvenience.