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Tailorlux Technology and the FORGE Project

Mon, 11 April, 2022

Although the Tailorlux technology finds its major use in counterfeit prevention and supply-chain transparency, being part of a “smart coating” represents a novel challenge and a notable advance in the realm of non-destructive corrosion and wear measurement.

A recognition system based on the emission of fluorescent spectra under exposition to an excitation wavelength, it is as dependant on the quality of the fluorescent tracer as well as the detector. We can consider these two requirements going hand-in-hand in a fashion not too dissimilar to a lock and key system. In this first Tailorlux blog entry we will focus on the former.

Figure 1. Samples of fluorescent tracers with different spectral emission
Figure 1. Samples of fluorescent tracers with different spectral emission

Within the FORGE project, the main issue needed to be solved concerned the ability of a fluorescent tracer to withstand the harsh environments which are common in the steel and cement industry. If the smart coating fails in delivering a stable and reliable signal then we´ll constantly be in presence of a false negative analysis, resulting in the impossibility to preventively identify wear and corrosion, potentially leading to part failure.

The fluorescent tracer property to emit light is linked to the state of its crystalline system. Said system consists of a host lattice (a solid) and a luminescent centre, often called an activator.

Figure 2. Energy transfer from a sensitizer S to an activator A in a solid (left) and a schematic energy level system showing the energy transfer mechanism
Figure 2. Energy transfer from a sensitizer S to an activator A in a solid (left) and a schematic energy level system showing the energy transfer mechanism

Typical activators are rare earth ions like Eu3+, Sm3+, Dy3+, Tb3+, Ho3+, Pr3+, Nd3+.

In the aforementioned harsh conditions, most crystalline systems are prone to disruption, resulting in partial or total quenching of the emitted luminescence. Thus arose the necessity to customize a fluorescent tracer which was able to withstand:

  • Exposure to short bursts of high temperature
  • Exposure to prolonged high temperature
  • Highly oxidative environments
  • Highly reductive environments

60 distinct synthesis and months of characterisation delivered us the ideal candidate for the application: YAG:Eu

This tracer demonstrated exceptional stability at 1700°C, even resulting in the surprisingly phenomenal property of increasing its luminescent emission when heat treated in an air-like atmosphere.

Such amazing results are very promising for the success of the project. At the time of the writing tests on the mixing and deposition of the powders for the realization of the smart coating are being performed and we cannot be more impatient to share the results with the consortium and you dear readers!

 

(Article Courtesy of Tailorlux) 

 

The FORGE project has received funding from the European Union's Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under grant agreement No 958457