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Improving the longevity of optically-read quantum dot physical unclonable functions

Research output: Contribution to Journal/MagazineJournal articlepeer-review

Article number10999
<mark>Journal publication date</mark>26/05/2021
<mark>Journal</mark>Scientific Reports
Number of pages8
Publication StatusPublished
<mark>Original language</mark>English


Quantum dot physically unclonable functions (QD-PUFs) provide a promising solution to the issue of counterfeiting. When quantum dots are deposited on a surface to create a token, they form a unique pattern that is unlikely to ever be reproduced in another token that is manufactured using the same process. It would also be an extreme engineering challenge to deterministically place quantum dots to create a forgery of a specific device. The degradation of the optical response of quantum dots over time, however, places a limitation on their practical usefulness. Here we report methods to minimise the degradation of photoluminescence (PL) from InP/ZnS quantum dots suspended in a polymer and demonstrates reliable authentication using a fingerprinting technique to extract a signature from PL, even after significant degradation has occurred. Using these techniques, it was found that the addition of a polylauryl methacrylate (PLMA) copolymer improved the longevity of devices. The best performing example of this was the Polystyrene-PLMA based material. From this, it is projected that 1,000 bits of information could be extracted and read after a period of years, therefore providing a compelling solution to the issue of counterfeiting.