Spectrally-selective Polarized Infra-Red ID (SPIRID) Tags Based on Chiral Silicon Metasurfaces

Physical Sciences : Physics

Available for licensing


  • Gennady Shvets, Ph.D. , Physics
  • Chih-hui Wu , Physics
  • Igal Brener , Sandia National Laboratories

Background/unmet need

There is a strong need for providing unique tags to various sensitive components (e.g., proprietary semiconductors chips and other electronic components) to avoid possible counterfeiting. A similar need exists for tagging equipment, personnel, terrestrial and airborne vehicles, and other objects. The tags have to be extremely small (especially for electronic components), unique, and easy to read. Spectrally selective infrared (IR) thermal emitters with unique polarization state signatures have not been used as tags so far.

Invention Description

This invention introduces a simple ultra-thin platform for generating narrow-band circularly and elliptically polarized radiation, either by conversion from externally incident light or through thermal emission of heated objects.

While infrared optical radiation is emitted by all heated surfaces, the overwhelming majority of it is emitted in polarization states that do not exhibit any preference for circular polarization. This offers an opportunity for Spectrally-selective Polarized Infra-Red ID (SPIRID) tags that thermally emit circularly-polarized infrared radiation confined to multiple spectrally-narrow bands.

The invented platform can be fabricated in a CMOS. The resulting SPIRID tags can be employed for unique identification of vehicles, personnel, electronic components, etc. It can be used for preventing/identifying tampering with genuine electronic components.


  • Ultra-small, ultra-thin
  • Inexpensive
  • Can be placed on any electronic component (including semiconductor chip) or on a larger object (equipment, clothes, vehicle)


  • Extremely high degree of circular polarization (DCP) of the optical (infrared) radiation
  • Extremely narrow line of the emitted circularly polarized radiation
  • Very thin (micron-scale) thickness of the invented device
  • Device manufacturing using standard CMOS-compatible fabrication processes

Market potential/applications

Manufacturers of sensitive/expensive electronic components; manufacturers of battlefield equipment and personnel gear.

Development Stage

Proof of concept