Inorganic fluorescent marker materials for identification of post-consumer plastic packaging

Jörg Woidasky, Immo Sander, Alexander Schau, Jochen Moesslein, Pascal Wendler, Dirk Wacker, Guojun Gao, Daniel Kirchenbauer, Vinay Kumar, Dmitry Busko, Ian A. Howard, Bryce S. Richards (+3 others)
A B S T R A C T Current plastic packaging waste management practices in Europe, but also in other countries require improvement due to legal and societal requirements. To meet high recycling rates, significant changes among others in post-consumer packaging waste sorting become necessary. This waste stream is dominated by plastic packaging. Inorganic fluorescent tracer materials (oxide crystals doped with ytterbium Yb 3+ sensitizer ions and either erbium (Er 3+ ), holmium (Ho 3+ ) or thulium
more » ... 3+ ) activator ions) enable a sorting criterion which is independent of the properties of the packaging materials. The authors propose to use up-conversion fluorescence as a unique mean for polymer marking and product identification. To this end, PE-HD film samples, with 10, 100 and 1000 ppm of marker concentration in different polymer matrix colours (semi-transparent, yellow, green, and black) were irradiated with 980 nm diode laser radiation, with an excitation intensity up to 10 W/cm 2 . The performance of three different marker types with their maximum emission in green, red, and NIR was measured and assessed both with and without polymer matrix. Moreover, PE-HD sample bottles with tracers were tested, and a tracer regime for specific code generation for improved polymer identification is proposed.
doi:10.5445/ir/1000122806 fatcat:ghcjz35htnfpdpu4zsfsscoghm