Quantum Technology Could Eliminate Counterfeiting

Researchers are working to reduce pirated and counterfeit products with a new unique identification system.

According to a new study by researchers from Lancaster University, fake goods may be on the verge of disappearing thanks to new quantum technology.

The researchers created unique atomic-scale identifications based on the irregularities found in 2D materials like graphene, making it possible to fingerprint them in simple electronic devices and optical tags.

Because of the materials used, the small tags could be edible and coated onto medicines.

The counterfeit industry is a burgeoning market with imports of counterfeited and pirated goods costing nearly $500 billion in lost revenue around the world annually, with counterfeit medicines accounting for nearly $200 billion alone.

“It is wonderful to be on the front line, using scientific discovery in such a positive way to wage war on a global epidemic such as counterfeiting, which ultimately costs both lives and livelihoods alike,” professor Robert Young of Lancaster University, world leading expert in quantum information and Chief scientist at Quantum Base, said in a statement.

The team is also showcasing the new technology through a smartphone app that allows people to check on their own the authenticity of a product by reading whether a product is real or fake.

The customer can scan the optical tag with the app that matches the 2D tag with the manufacturer’s database.

The researchers expect the patented technology and smartphone app to be available publicly in 2018.

When light is shone on graphene, tiny imperfections shine causing the material to emit light that can be measured as a signal, unique only to that small section of material. The signal can be turned into a digital fingerprint with a number sequence.