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US university joins war against counterfeits

The South Dakota School of Mines & Technology will serve as the lead institution for a newly created Center for Security Printing and Anti-Counterfeiting Technology (SPACT).

The center will receive $300,000 in start-up funding from the state for new projects to address the most pervasive and destructive security and counterfeiting problems.

SPACT research at the School of Mines has already led to the creation of QR codes that remain invisible in ambient lighting but are readable with a near-infrared laser and can be scanned using a smart phone. Use of this technology could thwart counterfeiting, detect security breaches and be used in many other applications.

Reports of the research went viral and appeared in hundreds of media outlets including BBC News, andReuters. SPACT research over the past three years has resulted in three patent disclosures and negotiations for its commercialization.

Other SPACT research and development includes creating non-toxic fluorescent inks for printing on pharmaceuticals, developing techniques to determine the source and authenticity of pharmaceuticals, security printing of covert markings and labels and electrospinning of tagged fibers and fabrics.

The new center is a collaborative effort with the University of South Dakota and South Dakota State University.

The School of Mines also received a $200,000 research innovation grant award to upgrade existing laboratories and to develop state-of-the-art laboratories for large-scale production in advanced manufacturing.

“Our researchers are at the forefront of advanced manufacturing and anti-counterfeiting technology. We hope to use these awards to continue to grow the research done at Mines and transfer technology to industry to create better products and more high-paying jobs,‚”” said Mines President Heather Wilson, D.Phil.

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