Adhesive & Sealant Industry News

New Enhanced Adhesive Created for Secure RFID Tag Technology

A common use of RFID tages is for use in anti-counterfeit efforts. These small and affordable devices are used to help improve supply chains and help stop the pervasive inflow of counterfeit goods in the U.S.

RFID tags and other product identifiers such as barcode labels are useful in keeping track of goods across supply chains, but they definitely have their limitations. You can put an RFID tag or barcode label on the outside of a product or box of supplies, but what about the smaller items inside? Paving the way for many more components to be securely labeled is an anti-counterfeit tag that measures just 2 x 2 mm (about the size of a sesame seed) devised by researchers in the US.

The approach, which was first unveiled in 2020, uses terahertz radiation to read cryptographic codes stored on the tiny chips. Similar to RFID designs, the data transfer process can be powered by energy emitted from the scanner, which means that the anti-counterfeit tag needs no battery and should last for years. The submillimetre waves created by the scanner passes through clothing and plastics to image hidden objects. Terahertz radiation can also be used to identify materials in its path based on spectroscopic fingerprints.

Given these properties, it’s no surprise to learn that the terahertz portion of the electromagnetic spectrum is ripe with security scanning applications. What’s more, unlike X-rays, terahertz radiation is non-ionizing – meaning that it won’t damage living cells. However, the original design of the anti-counterfeit tag shared a security vulnerability common to conventional RFID labels. By simply removing the security ID from a genuine product and attaching it to a fake item, counterfeiters would be able to easily defeat the authentication system.

To combat this, an MIT team has come up with an ingenious solution, which centers on the adhesive used to attach the anti-counterfeit tag to the host product. Small metallic particles are added to the adhesive during formulation and their final pattern when the tag is deployed is used as a security property.

“These metal particles are essentially like mirrors for terahertz waves. If I spread a bunch of mirror pieces onto a surface and then shine light on that, depending on the orientation, size, and location of those mirrors, I would get a different reflected pattern. But if you peel the chip off and reattach it, you destroy that pattern,” explains Ruonan Han – leader of the Terahertz Integrated Electronics Group.

Source: TechHq