Abstract

Optical security devices applied to banknotes and other documents are exposed to different types of harsh environments involving the cycling of temperature, humidity, chemical agents, and tribomechanical intrusion. In the present work, we study the stability of optically variable devices, namely metameric interference filters, prepared by dual ion beam sputtering onto polycarbonate and glass substrates. Specifically, we assess the color difference as well as the changes in the mechanical properties and integrity of all-dielectric and metal–dielectric systems due to exposure to bleach, detergent and acetone agents, and heat and humidity. The results underline a significant role of the substrate material, of the interfaces, and of the nature and microstructure of the deposited films in long term stability under everyday application conditions.

© 2011 Optical Society of America

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