Anti-counterfeit ‘fingerprints’ made from silver nanowires
Researchers in South Korea have created unique patterns made from tiny, randomly scattered silver nano-wires. The invention may be utilized to authenticate goods and deal with the problem of counterfeiting.
[icon name=”icon-question-sign”]How nanoscale ‘fingerprints’ are made?
The nanoscale ‘fingerprints’ are made by synthesizing a solution containing individual silver nanowires each with an average length of 10 to 50 µm, coating the nanowires with silica, doping them with specific fluorescent dyes and then randomly dropping them onto a transferable film made from flexible polyethylene terephthalate (PET).
The fluorescent dyes allowed the patterns, which are invisible to the naked eye, to be visually identified and authenticated under an optical microscope. These could be used to tag a variety of goods from electronics and drugs to credit cards and bank notes.
[icon name=”icon-question-sign”]What are the merits of nanoscale ‘figerprints’?
As per the developers, the fingerprints are almost impossible to copy because of the natural randomness of their creation and the difficulty linked with handling such small materials. The fingerprints could also be tagged with a unique ID/ barcode, which could ease an immediate search in a database and facilitate the process of authentication or counterfeit identification. As per researchers, compared to other anti-counterfeit methods, the fingerprints are cheap and simple to manufacture. As per the World Customs Organisation, around 6% of global traded goods are counterfeit, which the researchers believe could be curbed by using this new method to authenticate goods.