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Forensic Science

Chemistry In Pictures

Chemistry in Pictures: Worthless chemistry

by Manny I. Fox Morone
July 6, 2022

A zero-euro banknote under ultraviolet light shows several glowing words and symbols printed in fluorescent dye and a glowing image of the Atomium, a building made of seven large spheres.
Credit: Andres Tretiakov

Around the middle of the 2010s, people started selling €0 bills as souvenirs for historic sites. Although the notes are not legally worth any money, they are made using some of the same techniques and standards that real European banknotes use. Andres Tretiakov, a science technician at St. Paul’s School in London, flashed an ultraviolet light on this €0 note and noticed that it has embedded fluorescent dyes that are useful for anti-counterfeiting (below). This bill is particularly special to the chemistry community because it commemorates the 1958 construction of the Atomium, a building in Brussels shaped like one of iron’s crystal structures.

A zero-euro banknote shows a printed image of the Atomium, a building made of seven large spheres.
Credit: Andres Tretiakov

Submitted by Andres Tretiakov

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