LSA scoops Hermes Award

A new anti-counterfeiting technology based on research at Imperial College London has received the €100,000 Hermes Award at this year's Hannover Messe technology fair.

The annual award was given to Ingenia Technology, a company commercialising Imperial research, and their partners Bayer Technology Services, for their Laser Surface Authentication (LSA) device.

The LSA is a small laser scanner which allows unique identity codes to be read on the surfaces of everything from pharmaceutical packages to valuable documents. Unlike most security technologies in which a marker or chip is added to the item which needs protecting, LSA works by identifying naturally occurring features present in virtually all surfaces.

Professor Russell Cowburn, an Imperial College London Professor of Physics and Chief Technology Officer for Ingenia Technology, explained: 'Laser Surface Authentication provides a unique signature, similar to a human fingerprint or DNA sequence, for all kinds of surfaces. There is significant scope for this technology to be used across a wide range of fields to detect and prevent forgeries, and therefore it stands to improve safety and reliability in a number of areas, including high value branded consumer goods.'

The LSA technology is based on fundamental scientific research published by Professor Cowburn and colleagues in


in 2005. Following this, Ingenia Technology launched the LSA device. Subsequently, Ingenia's partnership with Bayer Technology Services, part of the Bayer group, was founded, resulting in the launch of a product called Protexxion based on the LSA technology. The Hermes prize was awarded for Protexxion, and shared by Ingenia and Bayer Technology Services.