We are creating new technology that allows us to verify identities at the scale of individual atoms. This is the physical limit at which objects can be authenticated.
Counterfeit products are a huge problem - from medicines to car parts, fake technology can cost lives. Every year, imports of counterfeited and pirated goods around the world cost nearly US $0.5 trillion in lost revenue. Counterfeit medicines alone cost the industry US $200 billion every year. They are also dangerous to our health – around a third contain no active ingredients, which means over a million die because they are not taking the medicines they really need.
We are creating exciting new technology that allows us to verify the identity of products at the scale of individual atoms, simply and cheaply. This is the physical limit at which a device can be authenticated, and should provide robust security for many years to come.
Our invention was made possible by pioneering work on ultra-thin material like graphene, which was awarded the Nobel Prize in 2010. These materials possess extraordinary physical properties and may be the most versatile ever discovered. Despite being only one atom thick, they can emit light that we can measure with a camera. But these materials also have atomic-scale faults within them, so the key to our technology is to map these imperfections to create unique fingerprints.
Our simple process can measure the difference between two devices using a standard smartphone camera.
Our exhibit is divided into five elements. These begin by explaining the importance of authenticating devices, in preventing counterfeiting in particular. Next comes the science underlying our technology; we’ll show you how everything is unique at the atom scale and how this can be used to identify an object. Finally, we present working prototypes of our inventions!
We have a range of real and counterfeit goods – can you spot the difference? Click here to read more about the economic and social problems that result from fake goods.
Seeing the atomic world. We have a special microscope that can measure atom-scale details, and even move atoms around. At this scale everything is unique. If you’d like to find out more about how this technology works then click here.
Measure the atomic uniqueness of our electronic devices. These devices (quantum identities) could be embedded into almost any electronic produce to uniquely identify them. There is more information about the science behind this patented technology here.
Our optical quantum tags can be read with a new smartphone app we have designed. The tags provide an identity depending on imperfections at the atom scale that were locked into their structure when they were made, find out more here.
You may have picked up an FWFakes puzzle at our stand. Here you will find instructions for completing the challenge and an explanation of the science behind it!