Color in PC : innovation for polycarbonate IDs

​​Indisputable proof of identity now in high-definition color for cards and passports

Sealys Color in PC 

The security printing industry has long pursued to unite the benefits of laser-personalized polycarbonate ID with the detail and richness of color photography.
Now Gemalto makes it possible to print a high-resolution color photo directly inside the card body using post-production technology.

Gemalto Color in PC is the first laser printing solution to deliver an unalterable color image combined with the high security and exceptional durability of polycarbonate at personalization stage.

  • High-definition photo quality
  • 10-year card service life
  • Full range of tamper-proof security features
  • Personalization at your fingertips

Polycarbonate passport datapages can be personalized using the same post-production color technology, offering high-resolution color photo together with the best security and durability provided by polycarbonate to passports.

The best of polycarbonate with a color photo

Gemalto has made considerable investments in the development of color pictures for polycarbonate. 

As a result, Gemalto has developed a new personalization solution based on a revolutionary new printing technology: Color in PC. 

This combines all the best of polycarbonate with a color photo:

  • The contrast and high resolution of current black-and-white laser-engraved polycarbonate photos.
  • The same security and durability as polycarbonate laser engraving technology.
  • All the security features offered by polycarbonate.
  • Flexibility at personalization during a separated step.


Polycarbonate with a color photo

​Process description

The color marking, occurs through a non-destructive and contactless process, in which the marking is inserted clearly, permanently and irreversibly inside the material under a transparent layer. ​​

Color laser marking 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. 

Each primary color (magenta, yellow and cyan) is bleached through different laser wavelength. By mixing the primary colors, a variety of colors can be produced in photographic quality. The Color Laser Marking Technology uses three lasers (blue, green and red) with three different wavelengths for all primary colors. 

An optical system bundles the laser beam, which is controlled through a deflection system inside the target material. 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.


The picture is embedded inside the document and, given its high resolution, cannot be simulated usingexisting digital printing technology. 

In contrast to traditional ink jet technology relying on half toning (juxtaposition and overlapping of CMY pixels) the Color in PC solution is a continuous tone technology offering at any pixel position the adapted color tone. 


Continuous tone print produces prints that are close to traditional photographs.

When comparing to other technologies, using half toning principals as for ink jet, the Color Laser Marking solution yield at higher resolution with up to 1200 DPI what gives full details within the photography. This feature is highly appreciated by Cameroon's authorities for the new smart national ID card launched in 2016.

These properties give also a very specific signature to Color in PC which makes it possible to truly authenticate the document at the third inspection level.

High resolution also offers the possibility of including personalized irreversible laser marked security features in the photo (such as variable micro text). 

Blank documents are protected against fraudulent personalization as the creation of the photo requires a high level of expertise and the usage of lasers with specific wavelength that are not available in the commercial market.

That's not all.​

It is also interesting to notice that the blank document including the black CMY panel offers a higher security in comparison to any blank document with a white background. The black panel can only being bleached with relevant lasers and complex expertise to avoid carbonization and clear tamper evidence.


Color in PC offers the high durability of a 100% polycarbonate document structure, with a perfect resistance to peeling and delamination.
The color photo passes the critical Gemalto qualification tests regarding 10-year durability, including adhesion of layers and color aging.


The color photo is created during a separate personalization step. The laser module is adaptable to most standard personalization machines.

There's more.

Color in PC is available in several formats:

  • Cards and Booklets, with a large choice of security features
  • Data pages (with or without a chip)
  • Carriers, ready to be laminated inside a data page or a card body (for customers who manufacture their polycarbonate documents)

Picture quality

With up to four times the resolution of standard D2T2 printing and twice the resolution of black-and-white pictures in polycarbonate, Color in PC creates a more attractive document with the

highest resolution possible. When compared with inkjet for passports, it is significantly better looking because of the continued tone characteristics.

Gemalto breakthrough technology provides unprecedented quality for engraving laser color photos in secure polycarbonate documents


  • More than two decades of Innovation in Polycarbonate

    More than two decades of Innovation in Polycarbonate

    A short history of Polycarbonate for IDs

    A short history of Polycarbonate for IDs
  • Polycarbonate Documents

    Polycarbonate Documents

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

    Polycarbonate documents
  • Enhanced Polycarbonate : Making the most of Polycarbonate for ID documents

    Enhanced Polycarbonate : Making the most of Polycarbonate for ID documents

    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]