TamperStop Security Technology has announced its intention to introduce to the market a point-of-use analytical laser hologram (ALH) for the detection of counterfeit and tampered liquid pharmaceutical medications in vial form. The planned introduction is scheduled for mid-2012, with a projected sales price below the $500 mark. This would make it affordable for use in hospitals, pharmacies, doctor’s offices, assisted care, and even some paramedic rescue applications.

The system is not intended as a quantitative tool for identifying an unknown liquid, but rather as a qualitative instrument for determining if the solution matches digital standard(s) of the known medication. If the image does not match the digital image on file, the material can be considered to be suspect of adulteration, dilution, counterfeited, or completely different. The internal image library in the small portable unit can be updated, enhanced and even monitored live, via the internet, or encrypted Rfid.

TamperStop recently received two patents, with a total of 37 claims for a variety of pharmaceutical anti-counterfeit technologies. The ALH system uses a harmless, non-invasive laser which is directed through a vial. The light is focused onto a three-dimensional binary optically encrypted hologram, on a 1mm square piece of polyester film with a sputtered reflective coating. When the vial is inserted into the device, the image holographic target is pressed against the vial side, and a laser beam is directed through the other side of the vial, through the liquid, through the second side of the vial and aligned on the 1mm spot of the hologram. The surface of the 3D ‘deep’ hologram then diffracts and reflects portions of the laser light back through the same two walls of the container and the solution contained within them.

A programmed ‘X’ crosshair image is incorporated into the hologram, and added to the returning diffracted/reflective image. The exiting laser image is in focus from the point it leaves the second container surface to infinity. No optics are required, or employed in the device. The diffracted / reflected image of interest is located at the very center of the cross-hair projected image, and can be seen with the unaided eye as a series of clearly defined, but very small, dots. An optical sensor array is used to receive the image at a precise angular displacement from the originating beam, and the output fed into a microcomputer. The placement, specific location in relationship to the exact center of the cross-hair image, the spacing between points, number of points, and grouping of points are uniquely indicative of the specific solution being examined.

The images are also sensitive to temperature. To resolve this variable, the specialized hologram includes a temperature indicating grid on the same hologram surface, which equates temperature to linear expansion of the holographic film. Finally, bar coded ID of the medication is compared to two ‘typical sets’ of stored images for each known solution, at the upper and lower thermal storage limits of the medication. All this technology is made possible by a single 1mm square foil hologram. A computer algorism is then used to compare the diffracted image between the two standard images, and to verify if the solution is authentic and allowable for consumer use. The current sensitivity of detection is less than four hundred parts-per-million (400ppm) which is sufficient for qualitative determinations of pass or fail. Work on more sensitive optical sensors is continuing and future detection levels are anticipated to be 10ppm or less.

For additional information please contact Lawrence Martinelli at TamperStop, or visit the company’s website.