A cheap and practically foolproof method of tagging any item to prevent counterfeiting has been developed by Professor Hyotcherl Ihee from the Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology (KAIST) and Institute for Basic Science and colleagues according to their report in the March 20, 2014, edition of the journal Nanotechnology.
The process involves the deposition of silica-coated dyed silver nanowires onto transferable film made from flexible polyethylene terephthalate.
The randomness of the nanowire pattern and the randomness of the color schemes possible are predicted to make the counterfeiting of any product practically impossible and financially impractical according to the developers. The potential to barcode each tag adds a third layer of security to the new system.
A single tag is projected to cost about one dollar.
The tags can be read by a microscope or from a database. This adds a level of practical experience to any counterfeiting effort that is above the skill level of most counterfeiters.
The technology is applicable to any product made as well as drugs, money, and credit cards.
About six per cent of global traded goods are counterfeit according to the World Customs Organization.
"Compared to other anti-counterfeit methods, the fingerprints are cheap and simple to produce, they are extremely difficult to replicate and can be authenticated very straightforwardly," concluded Professor Ihee.