While government agencies worldwide try to stop the importation of fake merchandise, they only manage to seize a very small portion of mass produced counterfeit products. Just in the U.S. alone, fraudulent merchandise may cost our economy up to half a trillion dollars a year, based on projections calculated by the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development. Some of the most profitable knockoffs are of purses and wallets, athletic shoes, medicines, jewelry and consumer electronics. In many cases spotting these fake items just with a trained eye is not possible.
New Anti-Counterfeit Smartphone App
Now researchers from Lancaster University think we are on the verge of a future without counterfeit merchandise as a result of utilizing quantum technology . The smartphone app they have created uses electronic quantum IDs, based on trailblazing development on ultra-thin material like graphene, which was awarded the Nobel Prize in 2010. The underlying technology generates IDs using a small semiconductor diode designed around the knowledge that electrons can only have very specific energies with an exact value that is sensitive to atomic scale imperfections. Quantum confinement amplifies these irregularities, making it possible to ‘fingerprint’ them on an atomic scale, in things like electronic devices and optical tags.
Coming to the General Public Soon
This patented technology and the related smartphone application will be showcased at the Royal Society Summer Science Exhibition and is expected to be obtainable by the general public in the first half of 2018. The anti-counterfeit smartphone App will be able to scan the optical tag on a product, which will match the tag fingerprint found in the manufacturer’s database, once this technology catches on.