VANCOUVER (THE STAR)—A Canadian security company is on the cutting edge of nanotechnology that could one day put 3D holograms on bank notes, making bills nearly impossible to replicate.

Simon Fraser University’s 4D Labs is home to a $4.5-million electronic beam lithography machine that is one of a handful in the world capable of creating details smaller than the wavelength of light — each pixel is invisible to the naked eye but that level of resolution allows engineers to create colourful 3D holographic images that are hard to miss.

Canadian bank notes already have various security features, including a 2D holographic strip. But those relatively inexpensive to duplicate using a laser printer, whereas creating a 3D hologram of that size would require extensive know how and millions of dollars worth of machinery.

Clint Landrock, chief technology officer and co-founder of Vancouver-based Nano Tech Security, is working with various G7 countries to put 3D holograms on their bank notes. He used Canada’s $20 bill as an example.

“Imagine instead if there was a full colour image of Queen Elizabeth and she turned and looked at you, and gave you a wink.”

That kind of moving holographic image would be extremely difficult to duplicate because of how the technology works, he said.

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