Developments in the field of nanotechnology have raised the prospect of a new authentication feature on bank notes, reports Gizmodo UK.
Writing for the technology news provider, Brent Rose explained that scientists have found a way of replicating the "electric" colours seen on butterflies, which are created by having a huge number of microscopic holes interacting with light.
He described how the effect would be very difficult for counterfeiters to produce, leading to obvious benefits for commercial cash management strategies.
"The best part is that the stamping can occur after the object has been made, making implementation a lot easier (i.e. money would be printed as normal, and then stamped). At the same time, the effect would be extremely hard to reproduce," said Mr Rose.
While still at an early stage of development, the Nano-Optic Technology for Enhanced Security (NOtES) could also have implications for other items, such as identification documents and medicines, to confirm their authenticity.
Fast Company's Christopher Mims explained the technique was developed by researchers at Canadian firm Nanotech Security, who were particularly inspired by the Blue Morpho butterfly's blue colouration.
Due to the way NOtES works, the authentication feature still works even in low-light situations. It was originally the brainchild of Clint Landrock and Bozena Kaminska at Simon Fraser University, who were at the time working on how to make solar cells more efficient.