The combination of micromirrors with a coating provides excellent security against counterfeiting.

Dr. Stefan Bichlmeier, Head of Product Management at Louisenthal

Normal household mirrors can darken over time – is this also a risk for micromirrors if banknotes stay in circulation for a long time?

No – no impairment of the effects is expected within the lifecycle of a banknote. The mirrors don’t get cloudy, specifically because they’re not made from coated glass like household mirrors, but rather are shaped and encapsulated in a layered structure.

Tightly packed: Four million mirrors per square centimeter


How does the shaping process work?

The first step is origination: creating an original based on the design template. This involves a special piece of software calculating the size, viewing angle, and arrangement of the individual mirrors – of which there are around four million per square centimeter. Then, over several electro-forming stages, a tool is created which is used for production.

It sounds as though counterfeiters would have a difficult job imitating the effects of micromirror technology...

That’s certainly true. And we further reinforce barriers against counterfeiters by using special coatings such as our RollingStar® security threads, which combine micromirror technology with multiple, metallic  thin film layers. This technology creates a unique color shift when the banknote is tilted. Controlling the thickness of each thin film layer at nano-scale is essential to obtain a precise color shift effect. The special coating of our varifeye ColourChange foil, in combination with a window in the banknote, causes a motif to be displayed in turn as brillant blue in transmitted light, and premium gold in direct light. In each case, micromirrors and the coating come together to ensure very high anti-counterfeiting security, as has also been proven by independent studies.

Ensure maximum authentication


Can micromirror technology also be combined with additional security features?

Yes – there are plenty of options, for example UV fluorescence, or a magnetic signature that ranges from simple yes/no recognition to complex coding. Also clear text technology is applied, in which layers are partly removed, so that additional information such as text is clearly displayed when the note is held up to the light.

Do banknote processing systems need to be adapted for micromirror technology?

During the usual adaptation process before a new banknote is issued, for example magnetic properties of a security thread are adapted to banknote processing systems. There is no need for an additional adaptation due to micromirrors. Advances in data processing mean that there will soon be even more effects in terms of both threads and foils.

Advances in data processing mean that there will soon be even more effects in terms of both threads and foils.

Dr. Stefan Bichlmeier, Head of Product Management at Louisenthal

New coatings and combinations for greater anti-counterfeiting security


Are there banknotes with micromirrors already in circulation?

Our RollingStar security threads have now been in circulation for several years, in more than 20 denominations. Over 40 additional denominations – including plenty new Galaxy security threads, with expanded, refined origination that combines 3D and dynamic effects in an very innovative way – are in the pipeline. In addition, the first notes featuring security foils are already in circulation. The Armenian 500-dram commemorative note from G+D Currency Technology even won the award “Best Regional Banknote”. This note features a Galaxy thread and – for the first time – a RollingStar® LEAD security foil. It is an excellent example of the benefits RollingStar technologies – micromirrors and colour shift – offer also for foil elements. Further issues of entire series with micromirror foils are on the agenda and currently in production – the level of demand is staggering. In order to be able to continue serving them efficiently and reliably, we have increased our capacity considerably already some time ago. 

What does the future of micromirror technology look like?

We are constantly advancing this technology, and so are conducting research in a huge range of areas: Progress in data processing means that new effects are constantly being developed in terms of both threads and foils. At the same time, we are working on new add-ons and new combination options, with the objective of further enhancing the anti-counterfeiting security of banknotes and unlocking new possibilities in terms of their design.

Further Reading


RollingStar® Security Threads
RollingStar’s striking colour shift and dynamic effects are a real eye-catcher and ideal for immediate level-one authentication. Use them to achieve distinctive effects, such as the striking “rolling cube” where a truly dynamic colour shift reflection travels over the surface.

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Galaxy® Security Threads
Clear authentication, high dynamics and 3D effects – Louisenthal has rolled all these properties into an innovative security thread technology. Galaxy is based on tiny microscopic mirrors plus ColourShift, a technology which provides a brilliant visual experience and extreme protection against counterfeiting.

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varifeye® ColourChange (Stripe)
The interplay between the translucent window and the changing image is a thing of fascination – but also builds a high barrier for counterfeiters. Synchronizing the window motif with the print image of the note enables fast authentication by the public.

READ MORE