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What is the rarest material found on modern banknotes?

Discussion in 'Science & Technology' started by Kyriakos, Sep 28, 2015.

  1. Kyriakos

    Kyriakos Alien spiral maker

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    They don't really have to be Euro notes, i am interested in any rare material which exists on all/most modern banknotes :)

    Not that i plan to start a counterfeiting career, as usual i need this for a possible story-plot where something destroys the rest but chemical reactions prevent it from ruining the banknotes as well (cause its inventor aims to rob the now dead person).

    I wouldn't want to go with some phosphorisation-inducing substance. Although in that case i could always title the story EU63 :D
     
  2. Gigaz

    Gigaz civoholic

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    Cocaine would be the obvious answer.
     
  3. Kyriakos

    Kyriakos Alien spiral maker

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    Hm...

    This actually might do, and allow a comedic subplot where the actual drug is saved without that being the intention!

    But how is cocaine (and in what way/form) part of the banknotes?

    Keep in mind that it should be material which is to some degree existent on all edges of the note, or near them. Else i would have to post some ultra-ambiguous stuff about the robotic/other killer stopping within a radius of the stuff, but this would not really work given it would mean some cloth or skin would remain as well...

    Which is the reason why it can't be some regular fiber material (it would also leave the clothes intact, or with blood).
     
  4. Gigaz

    Gigaz civoholic

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    I don't know the details but I guess the bank notes are contaminated by micrograms of cocaine powder. If your story ends up depicting it as some sort of protective foil for the bank notes, I probably wouldn't buy it. ;)
     
  5. Kyriakos

    Kyriakos Alien spiral maker

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    But i need money, so any other ideas? :(
     
  6. Kyriakos

    Kyriakos Alien spiral maker

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    Anyway, if i go with rare earths (and Europium in this case), is it true to fact that it is adequately dispersed throughout the note? (i obviously don't plan to be specific on how it is safe from the killer's attack).

    And i suppose it is the one making the notes glow red in parts under UV light, as here?



    Also it might be cool to know what spectre of UV light reveals the above effect. Ie from the grouping of UV in the following:

     
  7. uppi

    uppi Chieftain

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    Apparently 254nm, he one line specifically marked in your spectrum. But I guess the specification just instructs to hold it under a broadband 254nm UV lamp. The lines that actually are responsible for fluorescence are probably somewhere around that, but differ over the different compounds that make the different colors.
     
  8. Kyriakos

    Kyriakos Alien spiral maker

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    254 (253,7 nm to be exact) is the mark where UV lighting (edit, to avoid error if possible :) ) (more accurately, it prevents some cell functions) and is used to kill bacteria and such (it also will cause skin cancer to humans, or blindness if targeting the eyes). https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Germicidal_lamp

    Are you sure one has to be looking at the notes at that mark?
     
  9. uppi

    uppi Chieftain

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    That is not a coincidence. At 253.7nm there is one of the strongest transitions in mercury and because of that, mercury-vapor lamps emit UV light at that wavelength. Mercury-vapor lamps are the most common source of UV light and almost all fluorescent lamps are in fact mercury-vapor lamps with fluorophores added to convert UV light into white light.

    So if you need UV light and do not care so much about the frequency, mercury-vapor lamps are the way to go. I would bet that germicidal lamps are operated at that wavelength because it is particularly effective, but because those lamps are cheap and efficient (I guess designating a common mercury-vapor lamp as germicidal at least triples its price, though).

    The rationale for using that light for the fluorescence in banknotes is probably the same: They are common, cheap and effective, so if you design your fluorophore you better ensure it works with mercury-vapor lamps instead of some strange light that almost nobody has available (I have to wonder: Maybe there are some secret marks on those notes that are only visible at a certain special frequency, but nobody know it, because it has been kept secret?)

    I am not entirely sure that one should be looking at euro notes with light at that frequency, but that is the result of a cursory internet search and it certainly makes sense.
     
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  10. Kyriakos

    Kyriakos Alien spiral maker

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    Thank you, Uppi :D

    Btw, any info on whether the red glow is what the Europium shows as under that UVC?

    (and whether Europium is reasonably spread-out in the notes; it seems to be the case from the pic, moreso if specks of it are all-around)
     
  11. uppi

    uppi Chieftain

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    Yes, the red is caused by the europium. The Europium would be there where it glows red. The green glow might also be caused by an Europium compound, but that is speculation and the ECB is not telling anything about these security features..
     
  12. Glassfan

    Glassfan Mostly harmless

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    Decades ago, (here in the States) the detection of minute amounts of cocaine on a suspects' confiscated cash was used to convict drug dealers. But then it was discovered that nearly everyone's paper currency was contaminated and the legal practice was eliminated.

    Dealers and users get the drug on their hands, which rub off on the cash they spend. Those bills contaminate other money in cash registers and enters the wallets and purses of law-abiding citizens.

    These quantities are in minute, trace amounts, which appear to fulfill the thread's question. Though it's a contaminate and not a deliberate ingredient in money.

    I do seem to recall this used in storylines in several of the Law and Order CSI stories.
     
  13. Flying Pig

    Flying Pig Utrinque Paratus Moderator

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    Presumably notes actually in the wallet of a drug dealer will have a higher-than-average amount of cocaine on them, though? Could you not use a process basically similar to carbon-dating to work out the likely number of 'hops' between a hand with cocaine on it and the note's current location?
     
  14. Cutlass

    Cutlass The Man Who Wasn't There.

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    Too many unknowns. And, at any rate, there's no actual tracing where the bill was previously, and so it's a futile exercise.
     
  15. Flying Pig

    Flying Pig Utrinque Paratus Moderator

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    No, but you might be able to say 'look, that bill has clearly passed through at least five pairs of hands, so I'm not the drug dealer', or 'there's so much cocaine on that that you must be the drug dealer'.
     
  16. Cutlass

    Cutlass The Man Who Wasn't There.

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    I don't think that would work. There are people who roll bills into tubes and use it to snort drugs. That would put a lot on the bill, but it would be a user, not a dealer. A dealer isn't deliberately getting drugs on the bill, they just happen to be in close proximity, and the drug is a powder, hence dust. So there's no fixed amount of the drug that would get on the bills, and so no standard point of reference.
     
  17. Glassfan

    Glassfan Mostly harmless

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    It really boils down to whether you have a decent lawyer.

    Hi Cutlass - long time no see.:coffee:
     
  18. Cutlass

    Cutlass The Man Who Wasn't There.

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    :wavey: How ya been?
     

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