Counterfeiting is an arm's race to nowhere. An endless struggle, with both sides trying to out-wit the other. While treasuries all around the world try to find new ways to make counterfeiters sweat, and ultimately unable to make fake money, the counterfeiters in the world just need to figure out how those individuals are making new money, and copy it. There have been plenty of options in the past, like watermarks, ink that never dries, holograms, and colors that can't be copied. But, they've all been figured out in one way or another. But now, thanks to thin-film transistors, it may be almost impossible for counterfeiters to get the job done.
The new technology, which is still being fleshed out, is designed to literally wrap around paper money. The thin-film transistors are made out of gold, organic molecules, and aluminum oxide. The transistors are then set into a patterned mask, and laid on top of the money. How would merchants be able to tell if it's the real deal? Once the film is in place, there would be about 100 different organic and invisible transistors on each side of the paper note. Thanks to a small 3 volt current, the note would seem to turn "on and off."
So instead of having to use a special marker, a person would just pass the bill over a sensor, and if it manages to generate the required voltage, the bill is real, and they can buy whatever it is they intended on purchasing. There's no doubt that this seems like a huge step to fight counterfeiting, but let's face it: it's necessary. Will it solve the problem? We can probably hope it does for a long time, but it's probably not a permanent fix.
[via TG Daily]