Anti-Counterfeiting Microparticles are Smartphone-Readable

According to a 2013 United Nations report, 2 to 5 percent of all international trade involves counterfeit goods. These products include electronics, automotive and aircraft parts, pharmaceuticals, and food. MIT chemical engineers have invented a new type of tiny, smartphone-readable particle that they believe could be deployed to help authenticate currency, electronic parts, and other products. The particles, which are invisible to the naked eye, contain colored stripes of nanocrystals that glow brightly when lit up with near-infrared light. The researchers can generate vast quantities of unique tags. With particles that contain six stripes, there are one million different possible color combinations. These microparticles could be dispersed within electronic parts or drug packaging during the manufacturing process, incorporated directly into 3D-printed objects, or printed onto currency.