Ceramic Luminescent Materials

...for Product Labeling

© Fraunhofer IKTS
QR code based on ceramic luminescent materials for batch tracking.

For the reliable, clear and tamper-proof labeling of semifinished and end products, there are a variety of labeling solutions on the market. These range from a simple serial number to integrated RFID chips. However, these solutions usually do not meet the specific requirements of metal processing since they are not able to withstand extreme processing conditions. Ceramic luminescent materials developed by Fraunhofer IKTS enable completely new systems for product labeling or batch tracking since they are very robust: they withstand high temperatures and are resistant to chemical influence, high humidity and electromagnetic fields.

Ceramic luminescent materials react to optical excitation, such as laser irradiation, with a pronounced luminescence. Both the spectral properties and the luminescence decay time of the labeling can be customized. Since this adjustment can take place during as well as after the synthesis of the luminescent materials, properties arise that can only be copied at a considerable cost of time and money and are thus secure against forgery. This advantage can be used in the labeling of spare parts or other components.

Ceramic luminescent materials can simply be incorporated into inks or pastes so that they can be applied directly onto components via screen or inkjet printing. An influence on the material properties or on the adhesion of coatings can be excluded as only a minimal amount of material is printed. Inks and pastes dosed with luminescent materials are safe and environmentally friendly so that no additional health and safety measures are necessary. Due to the high contrast between labeling and substrate, automated readout is possible in all lighting situations.