Abstract

We present a novel method for optical identification, i.e., authenticating valuable documents such as a passport, credit cards, and bank notes, using optical coherence tomography (OCT). An OCT system can capture three-dimensional (3D) images and visualize the internal structure of an object. In our work, as an object, we consider a multilayered optical identification tag composed of a limited number of thin layers (10–100 μm thick). The thickness, width, and location of the layers in the tag encode a unique identification information. Reading of the tag is done using a time domain OCT (TD-OCT) system. Typically, a TD-OCT system requires continuous mechanical scanning in one or more directions to get a 3D volume image of an object. The continuous scanning implies a complicated optical setup, which makes an OCT system fragile and expensive. We propose to avoid the conventional scanning by (1) not requiring 3D imaging, and (2) utilizing the motion of the optical tag itself. The motion is introduced to the tag reader, for example, by a user, which replaces the need for conventional scanning. The absence of a conventional scanning mechanism makes the proposed OCT method very simple and suited for identification purposes; however, it also puts some constraints to the construction of the optical tag, which we discuss in this paper in detail.

© 2015 Optical Society of America

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