Atomic Fingerprinting: Novel Anti-Counterfeit Method
According to an Article ‘Optical identification using imperfections in 2D’ published in July 2017, a new anti- counterfeiting method has been discovered that involves a unique molecular configuration that can be integrated into a holographic label and a smartphone app.
This unique molecular pattern is created by constructing intentional flaws into thin layer of material. The removal of a carbon atom, addition of oxygen atoms, or creation of ridge of atoms, can result in the fabrication of flaws. Once the flaw is customized, the material is inked and printed onto a hologram with the help of an inkjet, which then can be added as a label to a product.
A photograph of the label can be captured using the flash light of a smartphone, to confirm the presence of an atomic pattern. The atoms are excited by the presence of flash, producing a unique color based on the pattern. An app, analyzing the image can be used to confirm whether or not the label is authentic.
Anti-counterfeiting must be carried on a wide scale for the eradication of false products. To broaden its applications, researchers are targeting the automotive industry. They are working in collaboration with a company that prints 10 billion holograms a year, thus enabling them to spray-print labels on automobile parts. The first products are expected to be launched in 2018.
The researchers would soon be branching out to the pharmaceuticals industry, which experiences a yearly loss of US$ 200 billion from counterfeit drugs. The downside of these counterfeit drugs the fatality involved on consuming them.
“Thirty percent of counterfeit pharmaceuticals don’t contain the correct active ingredient,” Young said. “People buy these things, believe they’re real, but they’re not being treated for the disease.”
The atomic fingerprints could eventually be laminated onto pills, decreasing the changes of counterfeit pills being sold and consumed, in turn leading to effective treatment of the disease.
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