Technology in new $100 US note aims to foil counterfeiters

The United States will be rolling out a new greenback this fall, in this case a new $100 note that, while visually similar to the current offering, utilizes new technology (and a slight splash of color) to make it harder for counterfeiters to replicate the bills. Among the changes are such things as a duplicating Benjamin Franklin, who has been enlarged and filled out, microprinting, and more.

According to the Federal Reserve, the new bill will go into circulation on October 8, will all new bills in that denomination ordered after that date being issued with the new technology. This follows the current design, which was issued back in March 1996, and is aimed at making it more difficult for counterfeiters to replicate the notes. As such, the new design implements a variety of technologies.

As part of the changes, Benjamin Franklin is now larger and slightly raised, with more detailed eyes and with a microprinted "United States of America" in the collar. The combination of these two things will make it harder for counterfeiters to print the bills and easier for those receiving fake bills to notice if something is off, such as missing details or incorrectly rendered aspects of the portrait.

In addition, changes have been made to the watermark so that it duplicates slightly when held up to the light. The gold inkwell visible in the image above has a slightly darker image of the Liberty Bell inside of it, which turns green when the bill is shifted. This is achieved using color-shifting ink, and is designed to be easier to spot due to the contrast between the green and gold colors.

One of the biggest changes is found on the back, with the new note featuring a giant golden "100" numeral vertically aligned on the left side, with the outside of the numbers being lined with blue ink, and the inside being filled with a striated golden gradient, something that makes it especially hard for counterfeiters to replicate, partly because of the color difficulties and partly because of the large size, which require more attention to detail and makes it easier for someone to notice a mistake. There's the added bonus of being easier on the eyes for those with visual impairments.

Independence Hall is now pictured from the rear, and the clock on the building has had its time changed from 4:10 to 10:30. And finally, there is a blue woven ribbon near the center of the note composed of 650,000 microlenses that generate $100 signs and 3D Liberty Bells. All commonly used counterfeiting methods are incapable of generating this.

SOURCE: Business Week