The University of California of Oakland has received US Patent No. 8,308,066, "Method for forming optically encoded thin films and particles with grey scale spectra." According to the patent, a semiconductor or insulator substrate is etched to form a thin film including pores. The etching conditions are controlled to vary porosity in the thin film according to a pattern that will generate an optical signature in the reflectivity spectrum in response to illumination such that the optical signature will include a grey scale code.

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