The pieces of our puzzle (once complete) are hexagons with circles in each corner. These represent carbon atoms bonded to form the material known as graphene. Graphene is often described as a ‘wonder material’ for its amazing physical properties, the Nobel Prize in Physics in 2010 was awarded "for groundbreaking experiments regarding the two-dimensional material graphene".
One variant of the security tags (Quantum ID’s) on our ‘A Future Without Fakes’ exhibit uses a 2D material like graphene. In the puzzle the challenge represents the manipulation of atoms and molecules to form a specific shape. If a malicious person wanted to copy one of our security tags they would have to perform this task – they would need to clone the tag atom-by-atom.
The puzzle we gave you contains 10 pieces, but a real security tags contains around one thousand-trillion atoms (10^15 or 1,000,000,000,000,000). The current best tools we have for moving single atoms around can’t operate much faster than you did in solving the puzzle.
Producing a counterfeit of our 2D material security tags would take roughly the age of the universe with the best tools available today!
If you’d like to know more there’s a details Physics paper available here.