Available Technology


This invention provides for a new and useful metrology to enable counterfeit detection system capable of uniquely marking items by encoding information in their physical structure at the nanoscale. The system depends on rapidly encoding information in the physical structure of an object and to rapidly reading such information with arrays of near-field coupled probes. Core to this invention are the techniques to create nanoscale quick-read codes through deterministic placement of electromagnetically active dopant clusters, and methods to measure the size and electrical activity of each cluster. The Initial demonstrations are on silicon wafers, but such techniques will be applicable to all manufactured products including pharmaceuticals.

Patent Abstract: 

An authentication article includes: a substrate including: a first surface; a second surface disposed laterally to the first surface and at a depth below the first surface; and a plurality of indentations including the depth at the second surface of the substrate; and an array disposed on the substrate and including a plurality of analytes, the analytes being disposed in the indentations at a depth below a first surface of the substrate and provided to emit an authentication signature in response to being subjected to a probe stimulus. A process for authenticating the authentication article includes: providing the authentication article; subjecting the analytes to a probe stimulus; acquiring a response from the plurality of analytes in response to being subjected to the probe stimulus; and determining whether the response is the authentication signature to authenticate the, wherein the authentication article is not authenticated if the response is not the authentication signature for the array.


While some counterfeits can be detected by visual inspection, many require destructive forensic testing to determine their legitimacy. These measures are reactionary, the inspections occur after the suspect items have already entered the supply chain. This invention is an electromagnetic, nanostructure Certificates of Authenticity that can be cheaply created and measured but cannot be easily duplicated.


Yaw S. Obeng, Joseph J. Kopanski, and Jung-Joon Ahn

Patent Number: 
Technology Type(s): 
Homeland Security, Intelligent Systems, Manufacturing, Electromagnetics, Nanotechnology, Nanometrology
Internal Laboratory Ref #: 
Patent Issue Date: 
December 11, 2019
Lab Representatives
Share to Facebook Share to Twitter Share to Google Plus Share to Linkedin