Home > Research > Publications & Outputs > Using intrinsic properties of quantum dots to p...

Associated organisational unit

Electronic data

  • Nonlinear OPUF Accepted Manuscript

    Accepted author manuscript, 4.66 MB, Word document

    Available under license: CC BY: Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License


Text available via DOI:

View graph of relations

Using intrinsic properties of quantum dots to provide additional security when uniquely identifying devices

Research output: Contribution to Journal/MagazineJournal articlepeer-review

Article number16919
<mark>Journal publication date</mark>8/10/2022
<mark>Journal</mark>Scientific Reports
Number of pages8
Publication StatusPublished
<mark>Original language</mark>English


Unique identification of optical devices is important for anti-counterfeiting. Physical unclonable functions (PUFs), which use random physical characteristics for authentication, are advantageous over existing optical solutions, such as holograms, due to the inherent asymmetry in their fabrication and reproduction complexity. However, whilst unique, PUFs are potentially vulnerable to replication and simulation. Here we introduce an additional benefit of a small modification to an established model of nanoparticle PUFs by using a second measurement parameter to verify their authenticity. A randomly deposited array of quantum dots (QDs) is encapsulated in a transparent polymer, forming a tag. Photoluminescence is measured as a function of excitation power to assess uniqueness as well as the intrinsic nonlinear response of the quantum material. This captures a fingerprint, which is non-trivial to clone or simulate. To demonstrate this concept practically, we show that these tags can be read using an unmodified smartphone, with its built-in flash for excitation. This development over constellation-style optical PUFs paves the way for more secure, facile authentication of devices without requiring complex fabrication or characterisation techniques.