Dynamic Cryptography through Plasmon-Enhanced Fluorescence Blinking

Research output: Journal Publications and Reviews (RGC: 21, 22, 62)21_Publication in refereed journalpeer-review

3 Scopus Citations
View graph of relations


  • Yongfeng Lu
  • Hongrui Cheng
  • Guang-Can Li
  • Fei Han
  • Cheng Jiang
  • Tsz Wing Lo
  • Paul S. Francis
  • Yuanhui Zheng


Original languageEnglish
Article number2201372
Journal / PublicationAdvanced Functional Materials
Issue number30
Online published13 May 2022
Publication statusPublished - 25 Jul 2022


Merging cryptographic primitive technologies and physical unclonable functions (PUFs) have become a new paradigm of one-way encryption. Herein, the authors report a dynamic PUF cryptographic primitive based on plasmonic fluorescence blinking from single or a few dye molecules embedded within the nanogaps of plasmonic patch nanoantennas. This cryptographic primitive carries two sets of high-capacity optical codes: the fluorescence blinking of the embedded dye molecules and multi-color light scattering enabled by the plasmonic nanoantennas. The former allows the generation of temporal binary codes from a large number of individual plasmonic patch nanoantennas by holding either “1” (bright state) or “0” (dark state), while the latter provides a permanent color-based novenary code that acts as a decryption channel for authentication. Benefiting from the high electromagnetic field localized within the nanogaps and the large Purcell enhancement of the plasmonic nanoantennas, the fluorescence blinking is readily detectable by a common fluorescence microscope with a mercury arc lamp as a low-power excitation source. The developed dynamic PUF codes are robustly and accurately authenticated by a self-programmed computer vision algorithm. This study revolutionizes the conventional static PUF encryption to nanophotonics-based dynamic encryption, opening a new avenue for next-generation advanced anti-counterfeiting.

Research Area(s)

  • dynamic cryptography, fluorescence blinking, physical unclonable functions, plasmonic nanocavities, Purcell effect

Citation Format(s)

Dynamic Cryptography through Plasmon-Enhanced Fluorescence Blinking. / Lu, Yongfeng; Cheng, Hongrui; Li, Guang-Can; Han, Fei; Jiang, Cheng; Lo, Tsz Wing; Lei, Dangyuan; Francis, Paul S.; Zheng, Yuanhui.

In: Advanced Functional Materials, Vol. 32, No. 30, 2201372, 25.07.2022.

Research output: Journal Publications and Reviews (RGC: 21, 22, 62)21_Publication in refereed journalpeer-review