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Microparticle Tags to Check Counterfeit Goods Invented

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Published on : Apr 14, 2014

Researchers from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology have invented a new set of microparticles that can easily be read by smartphones and establish the authenticity of currency, electronic items and luxury goods. 

This strategy is among those countless measures taken by big brands and companies to label their legitimate products in order to stop illegal copies of the products from deceiving customers. 

But most of the tags in market currently are either too easy to fake and unreliable or are too costly to implement. 

This new invention, a tiny particle that is invisible to naked eyes, is invented through a research led by professor Patrick Doyle, chemical engineering dept. MIT and technical staff member Albert Swiston, Lincoln Laboratory. 

The researchers say that these tiny particles can be deployed on currencies, electronic parts, luxury goods and many other things so as to authenticate them easily. 

 These tiny particles contain stripes of certain nanocrystals that, when contacted with near-infrared light, glow brightly. These nanocrystals can be easily manufactured and incorporated into various materials. These particles are also capable of withstanding extreme temperatures, heavy wear and direct exposure to the sun.  

These particles can also be fitted with sensors that can record the environments around them, which can note, for example, whether a vaccine that needs complete refrigeration has ever been exposed to extreme temperatures. 

These particles are of sizes approximately 200 microns and incorporate stripes of various colors of nanocrystals.  

Such a way to check for counterfeit products can help private companies and governments in saving hundreds of billions of dollars every year and also help in reducing safety risks posed by such counterfeit products. 

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