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STTR Phase I: Multi-faceted System for Document and Product Security

Award Information
Agency: National Science Foundation
Branch: N/A
Contract: 1722229
Agency Tracking Number: 1722229
Amount: $225,000.00
Phase: Phase I
Program: STTR
Solicitation Topic Code: MN
Solicitation Number: N/A
Solicitation Year: 2016
Award Year: 2017
Award Start Date (Proposal Award Date): 2017-06-15
Award End Date (Contract End Date): 2018-05-31
Small Business Information
1314 Quincy St
Rapid City, SD 57701-2509
United States
DUNS: 080459515
HUBZone Owned: No
Woman Owned: Yes
Socially and Economically Disadvantaged: No
Principal Investigator
 Jeevan Meruga
 (612) 859-4951
Business Contact
 Jeevan Meruga
Phone: (612) 859-4951
Research Institution
 University of South Dakota Main Campus
 Paul S May
Vermillion, SD 57069-2307
United States

 Nonprofit College or University

This STTR Phase I project will support the development of a powerful new track-and-trace platform in the global fight against counterfeit products in high-risk supply chains. From pharmaceuticals to aviation to defense, many industries now face a growing problem with maintaining visibility to the authentic products in their supply chain, while identifying black market and grey market products that could harm their customers and have serious impacts on national security. This project will build on interdisciplinary research from materials science, photonics and information technology to create an innovative new platform that connects physical supply chains with digital supply chains through the use of covert codes that are placed onto products. These codes are printed using nanoparticles that are only visible when exposed to a laser with very specific properties. The security platform that this research enables will provide U.S. industry with a robust new system for authenticating genuine products and maintaining visibility throughout the global supply chain. This Small Business Technology Transfer Phase I project develops a system designed to thwart counterfeiting. The system is based on 1) covert printed markings, carrying encoded information, that convert near infrared (NIR) excitation either to visible light or to shorter-wavelength NIR light, and 2) a proprietary reader-decoder system that is cyber-enabled to access secure data bases. The two major technical challenges addressed in this project both involve maximizing the overall signal-to-noise ratio of the system. The first challenge improves the long-term stability and up-converting nanoparticle payload-capacity of a novel, micro-emulsion (aqueous continuous-phase) ink. The second challenge creates micro- or nano-scale substrates that greatly amplify the up-conversion signal. Successfully overcoming these technical hurdles will significantly advance the readiness of the technology for commercialization and Phase II development. It is estimated that reaching the milestones specified within the specific research objectives will lead to a 250x enhancement of up-conversion intensity when using low excitation power densities. Such an enhancement would be transformational to the system and enable the use of lower laser powers in the reader/decoder device which in turn, would lower costs and greatly extend the utility of the system to, for example, a hand held, portable reader.

* Information listed above is at the time of submission. *

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