Giesecke & Devrient has introduced a new security feature for banknotes that allows them to be verified with a simple, garden-variety magnet, such as that in a smartphone speaker or a handbag clasp. The process employs special ink pigments that align when the note is held over a magnet, making the security feature visible.

MAGnite is based on "functional pigments." The magnetic pigments are enclosed in highly durable microcapsules that allow them full freedom of movement. These pigments "organize" into a pattern when acted upon by an external magnetic force.

Different types of magnets produce different patterns or images. For instance, the speaker magnet of a mobile phone will produce a rounded oval effect. A streak effect is created when the banknote is verified using the magnets integrated in the electronic theft-protection systems found in retail stores.

"The MAGnite feature is quick and easy to use, and the optical effects are easily recognized," says Bernd Kümmerle, head of the banknote printing division at G&D. "The new security feature is so dynamic and practical that it offers the general public a sound alternative to watermarks and security threads."

Security features for banknotes fall into two categories: those that can be verified by the public — retailers, banks, cash-in-transit companies and average citizens; and those that can be verified only by a central bank using special technology.

For more on this topic, visit the security research center.

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