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April 9th, 2007
Given the potentially dire economic consequences of a flood of counterfeit bills, the Bureau of Engraving and Printing--the arm of the Treasury Department that oversees U.S. currency--sought insights into current and emerging technology from a group of experts in areas including materials science, image analysis and printing technology. That group, under the auspices of the National Research Council, earlier this year delivered its report, "A Path to the Next Generation of U.S. Banknotes."
Among the ideas raised by the group (presented as options for the BEP, and not specific recommendations) were the possible use of plastic in the fabric of the banknote, windows or even lenses for displaying certain features, or nanotechnology to allow for new inks with novel characteristics.
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