The counterfeit industry is a mini global economy raking in hundreds of billions of dollars annually. A group of MIT researchers now aims to disrupt this industry by offering an easy way of identifying counterfeit products with the help of nanocrystals.
Nanocrystals are very small and thin. They look nearly the same breadth as a human hair when viewed normally. These crystals can be dyed with any of the various rare earth minerals. The dye creates a unique polymer stream pattern on the nanocrystal, which can then be used to identify counterfeit products.
In simpler words, different nanocrystals dyed with different minerals can be used to find how original a given product is. They are like a tangible database of the information about the authentic version of products and currencies. The pattern on these nanocrystals begins to glow when they are exposed to ultra-violet light. This is why scientists hope that they can offer a smartphone-savvy solution for countering counterfeit products.
The plan is to offer an iPhone app as well as a piece of lens which can offer 20x magnification. This piece of equipment will help a smartphone discern the results gathered from the nanocrystals. However, for now, the size of the lens is unsuitably large for a smartphone. The researchers hope that they will be able to diminish the size of the lens over time and once that happens, this would be a very viable solution for all users.