Science Questions

Sun, 5th Dec 2004

Part of the show The Science of Light

Question

Annie asked:

Can you use spectroscopy to spot whether ID cards are real, or faked on a home printer?

Answer

It is very difficult to fake identity cards properly. Using bank notes as an example, an immense number of security measures have been put into them. Many of these measures are very hard and expensive to fake. One security feature on bank notes is the use of phosphors that give off different colours under light. Therefore, despite concerns about ID cards, they shouldn't be easy to forge.

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