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A future without fakes

Hands-on at the exhibit

  • Take our challenge – attempt to replicate our experiments and discover how difficult it is to clone our technology at the atomic scale by building your own ball and stick model of an imperfect graphene sheet. Our fastest cloners will win one of our fantastic prizes – we have 60 BBC micro:bits, pocket-sized codeable computers, up for grabs!
  • Discover the scale of the counterfeiting problem. We will have a range of different fakes alongside their genuine counterparts - can you tell the difference? 
  • Come and try our quantum security technology - use a mobile phone to measure optical fingerprints, and request identities from an electronic chip we’ve built.

Find out more

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. Come and try it for yourself!

Find out more at FWFakes and the Young-Quantum Group.

Presented by: Lancaster University and Quantum Base Ltd.