A TruTag® microtag’s spectral pattern serves as a covert, edible bar code for serialized item tracking
The TruTag Technologies Platform
TruTag Technologies has developed an edible microtag, branded TruTag®, useful for identification, authentication and quality assurance of individual medicines, electronic components, industrial parts, food items, and a range of consumer goods.
Safe, edible microtags for authentication and anti-counterfeiting
TruTag microtags are secure, optically-encoded, micro-sized tags that safely and directly mark food, medicine, or other goods. They are made from silica, which is generally recognized as safe, or “GRAS,” by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. Each TruTag microtag contains a custom-manufactured spectral signature chosen from millions of possibilities, yet each item can cost only fractions of a penny to label, making widespread tracking of individual items feasible. TruTag microtags can be made either in irregular, random shapes within a specified size range, or in regular shapes, such as discs or squares, via an optional photolithographic process.
TruTag’s spectral-barcode system can be quickly verified
TruTag’s proprietary technology etches unique ‘spectral barcodes’ into a porous silicon wafer. The code can be measured via a portable spectrometer-based optical reader, then quickly verified against other cryptographic information printed on the package, such that the item and packaging are authenticated together; tampering with either the package, or the contents, would flag a security violation. Additionally, each tag can reference a label in a secure database, where additional information about the item (including lot number, expiration date, date of manufacture, authorized customer, or country of authorized sale) can be stored as desired, such as a link to a future e-pedigree track and trace system.
The microtags are passive, inconspicuous and can be attached either to the outside of items to be read like on the coating of a pill, or mixed into items as a forensic excipient to be read as part of an inspection process or investigation by authorized security or quality assurance personnel.
TruTag for forensic applications
Spectral signatures can be individually tailored. Two examples here illustrate fine control of spectral peak amplitude.
Since the microtags are encoded with information throughout their depth, rather than along their surface, they can be broken into pieces, with each piece still containing all of the encoded information. This makes porous silica microtags suitable for forensic applications, where the tag may be subjected to rough handling. As long as any piece of the tag can be recovered, the information is not lost.
Even after the use and disposal of a product, in all but extreme situations, a silica microtag will survive. This is in contrast to RFID, which requires internal electrical connectivity, and UPC codes, which require that the surface of the code remain intact.
TruTag: The microtag solution for product security
- Millions of spectral codes achievable
- Inconspicuous size range (≈100 micrometers) allows covert or semi-covert use
- Edible and biologically inert
- High temperature resistance – melting point above 1000°C
- Passive – no energy input or output
- Can be used in or on a product, package, label, or security fiber
- Can be applied via sprays, coatings, varnishes, or as part of laminate
- Can be integrated at a number of manufacturing stages
- High level of security possible; can be scaled to suit specific product needs
- Can be made self-authenticating and reduce the costs and security risks associated with online databases and maintenance