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  • Built-in photo security: Gemalto Color Laser Shield

    ???????? Polycarbonate ID card

    High resolution portraits secured by color lasers

    ?Polycarbonate is widely used for secure ID documents, offering optimum resistance against attacks, a wide range of security features, and an extended lifetime.

    Now Gemalto is launching Color Laser Shield – taking the security of polycarbonate ID? documents to an even higher level.?

    Gemalto Color Laser Shield is a unique solution for securing a color photo within a polycarbonate ID document. Powered by four color lasers hitting a special ink in the d?ocument's inner structure, this new issuance solution achieves the highest levels of resolution and counterfeit protection.

    Fitting seamlessly with governments' issuance workflows, it uses blank documents uniquely protected against fraudulent personalization.

    The unrivalled security performance delivered sets a new benchmark in laser personalization solutions.

    Gemalto Color Laser Shield documents offer numerous benefits:

    • Reduced fraud due to technology barriers
    • Simple verification
    • Seamless integration
    • Compliance with best practices

    Gemalto Color Laser Shield is available for cards and passports.


    The best of polycarbonate with a color photo

    Gemalto Color Laser Shield represents a breakthrough in the ID document market, bringing color to laser photos and further enhancing document security.

    Protection and verification of the holder's photo are boosted through a combination of high end technology and traditional security elements.

    Issuers of official ID documents will find a technology that fits naturally with their business processes. Document personalization is kept separate from bulk manufacturing, and is available for all types of documents, including passports, ID cards and driver licenses. 

    The technology is also available for high security printers to complement their document offer.

    The offer has already been deployed in the field with over one million national eID cards issued by Cameroon's authorities?. It is also endorsed by forensic experts.

    High security for passport and why paper still matters in 2018

    Get access to our free expert's guide?

    ? ?

    Security for IDs

    ??Gemalto Color Laser Shield is built on the secure foundations of polycarbonate. All the security elements and document holder information are sealed inside the document, protecting each one in case of attack.

    And the photo?

    The photo is also engraved insidethe document. In addition, the security of personalization technology is enhanced thanks to the four separate lasers. ??

    New barriers for fraudsters

    The lasers used in Color Laser Shield technology are not available on the open market. Only authorized bodies can access them. Moreover,  specialized expertise is needed to set up and operate these lasers, setting the bar even higher for attempts at fraudulent personalization or photo manipulation.

    That's not all…

    Once engraved, the photo is extremely well protected, thanks to traditional security features that create a strong link with the rest of the document. Surface embossing, UV guilloche lines or even DOVID are all able to overlap the photo and document. They would be destroyed in the event of a fraudulent attack, making any attempt to do so visible and therefore detectable.

    What about the blank documents?

    Better protection for blank documents

    Blank documents have a strong level 1 security?? protection thanks to the reactive ink in the photo area. Before personalization, this zone appears as a dark panel.

    The four color lasers are essential to print the photo in this area.

    If other available technologies, such as inkjet or D2T2, are used to attempt fraud, the photo would not be visible due to the dark panel.

    Even if it was feasible, removing the panel would destroy the security features linking the photo to the document.

    Anything else?

    As with any secure printing technology, Color Laser Shield has a specific hallmark, allowing clear authentication at the second inspection level.

    ?Gemalto Color Laser Shield

    ?Simple to verify

    Gemalto Color Laser Shield offers a photographic quality image of the document holder,  facilitating the authentication.


    Controllers only have a few seconds to authenticate the document holder, who is completely unknown to them. They must do this based on a photo printed on the document, possibly taken several years ago and therefore showing significant physical differences with the person in front of them (hair length, color or style, or glasses, for example).


    The good news?

    The sharper the photo, the easier the authentication. With minimum resolution of 800dpi, and up to 1200dpi possible, Gemalto Color Laser Shield technology ensures a high detail reproduction. This makes it easier to catch imposters. 

    That's not all.

    Less is more

    Because the holder's photo is secured with high technology, and the link with the document is made using traditional security elements, there is reduced requirement for a variety of security features. Indeed these are usually implemented to secure the photo, and often unknown to controllers. The design can therefore be made leaner and more familiar to controllers.


    The focus is back on the photo. Controllers know what to look for and how to authenticate it. Their task is made simpler and faster.

    All that – and an essential extra.

    Within each country, populations are becoming more and more diverse.  Crucially, Gemalto Color Laser Shield offers a color photo that enables representation of various skin tones?.

    Seamless integration

    The color photo is created during a separate personalization step, respecting standard and established best practices for production flow and facilitating excellent responsiveness to urgent requests.

    And the equipment?

    The laser module is adaptable to most standard personalization machines. 

    At the moment, a select set of providers offer compatible equipment; at the same time,  a licensing program is extending available support with additional providers.

    There's more…

    Gemalto Color Laser Shield is available in several formats:

    • Cards and Booklets, with a large choice of security features
    • Datapages (with or without a chip)
    • Inlays, ready to be laminated inside a datapage or a card body (for customers who manufacture their polycarbonate documents)

    A breakthrough process...

    During personalization, the color photo is marked precisely, permanently and irreversibly in the document's inner layer, using color lasers.

    This is based on the principle of selective bleaching.

    What's the story here?

    Special pigments (ink) fade when irradiated with laser light at a specific wavelength and strength. 

    Gemalto Color Laser Shield technology uses three lasers (blue, green and red) with three different wavelengths for all primary colors. Each primary color (magenta, yellow and cyan) is bleached through a different laser wavelength. By mixing the primary colors, a variety of colors can be produced in photographic quality. The color of every picture element can be achieved through the use of a different intensity of the laser beam. Any primary color can be split into 256 levels.

    The technology incorporates the implementation of three lasers within the laser personalization machine. Red, green and blue industrial lasers irreversibly bleach the cyan, magenta and yellow colors.

    ???? ...Meets best practices

    Gemalto Color Laser Shield reaches the high standard for durability set by polycarbonate, with a perfect resistance to delamination and strong light exposure. The color photo surpasses the critical Gemalto qualification tests regarding 10-year durability, including adhesion of layers and color aging.

    Color Laser Shield is built to be a platform for innovation. Gemalto's research and development engineers continuously design groundbreaking concepts in order to stay one step ahead of counterfeiters.

    ????? New laser-personalized innovations

    New laser-personalized innovations 

    ?They are designed to further increase the security of official identity documents.

    • Gemalto Color Variable Microtext adds color to personalized microtext, a strong level 2 feature (visible with a magnifier). It combines color and high resolution to engrave sharp characters and is difficult to forge and copy. Only authorized entities can access Color Laser Shield technology.

    • Gemalto Color Window is a strong visible security feature - a transparent window created inside the polycarbonate card is color laser-engraved with a portrait making it impossible to copy and enabling quick checking. Any attempts by forgers to tamper with the document will be immediately visible. As a see-through element in color, it is an 'eye catcher' that enables instant inspection of the entire layer structure.?

    ? ?


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      Gemalto Color Laser Shield

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      This position paper is describing some of Gemalto's latest innovations in enhanced polycarbonate secure documents.

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      Recent innovations, such as color laser-printing as well as enhanced visual and tactile effects, are giving additional opportunities to government authorities and national printers to seriously consider this enhanced polycarbonate environment for their document projects. This white paper is describing the major benefits of the new generation of enhanced polycarbonate secure documents.

      Enhanced Polycarbonate : Making the most of Polycarbonate for ID documents [PDF - 787 kb]