Terahertz Tags to Spot Product
MIT scientists have devised
cutting-edge anti-counterfeiting tags leveraging terahertz waves, capable of
remotely detecting tampering or removal attempts from product packaging. This
is made possible through a novel tamper-proof adhesive design, integrating
micro-particles. Unlike lower radio frequencies, terahertz radiation is highly
absorbed by atmospheric gases, limiting its terrestrial communication range.
However, it's emitted naturally by objects with temperatures above 2 kelvins.
Existing methods, such as RFID
tags, have limitations due to susceptibility to duplication and cost issues. In
contrast, MIT's terahertz tags offer higher data transmission rates over longer
distances, enabling widespread remote scanning.
The key innovation lies in the
tamper-proof glue, which incorporates microscopic conducting metal pieces. Any
tampering disturbs the distribution of these particles, altering the terahertz
wave reflections and serving as evidence of tampering.
This advancement enhances
security by providing remote tamper detection capabilities lacking in existing
Moreover, these tags are
cost-effective and scalable, thanks to their use of inexpensive materials and
streamlined fabrication processes. They can be mass-produced rapidly, promising
widespread adoption across various industries vulnerable to counterfeiting.
By enabling near real-time
invisible tracking, these terahertz ID stickers mitigate grey market risks and
enhance supply chain transparency.
Terahertz waves occupy the
electromagnetic spectrum between microwave and infrared regions. Artificial
sources of terahertz radiation include gyrotrons, backward wave oscillators,
organic gas far-infrared lasers, Schottky diode multipliers, among others.
In 2013, researchers developed a method to create graphene antennas, shaping them into strips for emitting radio waves in the terahertz frequency range.