Scientists at the Hitachi
Research Labs in Japan are raising the stakes in counterfeit protection
technologies with the development of a new RFID (radio-frequency
identification) tag. Measuring just 50 micrometers by 50 micrometers, these new
RFID tags are smaller than grains of sand, and are in fact the smallest RFID
tags ever devised.
The picture shows the powder chips beside a strand of hair. Though it isn't known if the hair is from a male or female - females have thinner hair strands than males - the powder chips still look pretty small.
“The so-called powder chip
is thin enough that it can be mixed with paper pulp to add a layer of
counterfeit protection to gift certificates, passports and currency. It's also
caught the interest of the jewelry industry, which could invisibly embed the
chip in rings and necklaces to track their origins, making them more difficult
to sell illegally.”
Each chip, when stimulated by an RFID reader,
emits its unique identification code. Each chip has its own distinctive
38-digit number. Since the code is part of the chip’s circuitry, counterfeiting
is “impossible.” The powder chip was first introduced in February and is said
to be available for commercial use by 2009.