Nanotechnology vs. Fakes

    Last year, at the height of the holiday season, employees of the U.S. Customs and Immigration Law Enforcement Administration (ICE) carried out the Holiday Hoax special operation during which 327,000 counterfeit goods were seized for a total of $ 80 million. But fake goods continue to be a serious problem for many countries.

    Yes, counterfeit detection technologies are being developed, but at the same time, counterfeiters continue to decompile these techniques, as a result of which their goods seem real.

    But new methods for combating fakes from IBM appear on the scene, using technologies of a fundamentally new level - nano.

    At the beginning of the year, IBM scientists, together with ETH Zurich University, published an articlein which they told how they managed to place gold nanorods with sizes from 25 to 80 nanometers with incredible accuracy (for comparison, the pin head holds 1 million nanometers) on a flat surface using simple printing technology. To demonstrate, they created a copy of the famous German Ampelmann , which turned out to be 2500 times smaller than the original.

    “We used the surface tension of water and a nanomatrix to arrange nanorods that can be printed onto any surface using nanoprinting. We can create any image, such as a corporate logo or serial number, stopping scammers at the nanoscale, ” said IBM scientist Heiko Wolf.

    After fixing the particles, the image is entered into the base, and subsequently can be read by a special microscope.

    More recently, IBM scientists have patented a similar technology for nanoscale imaging. Another way involves spraying on the surface of the document nanoscale fluorescent dots of polystyrene and glowing in different colors (red, green and blue). Lying on the surface, they create a unique combination, which is theoretically impossible to counterfeit today.

    “The new method takes security to a new level, because the order of colors in which the elements are arranged is completely random. And even I can not make a copy of the image. We call it a physically unclonable function, abbreviated as PUF (physically unclonable function). "

    Both technologies can be used together to combat counterfeiting of any high-quality goods, including diamonds, watches, famous paintings or even passports and other important documents.

    According to Dr. Wolfe, these protection technologies will make unique things truly unique, and they will receive their distribution within five years.

    Read more: IBM Research , IBM flickr

    Nanorods Take Down Counterfeiters

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