A new method for protecting personal data might just have been invented by the faculty and students who work and study at Vanderbilt University. They have managed to create nano-spirals which are virtually impossible to replicate, thus preventing any counterfeiter from get their hands on you private information.
Researchers at Vanderbilt University managed to create these extremely small spirals, which they dubbed Archimede`s spirals and which were actually so small, that the team of scientists needed special gear in order to be able to study the specific characteristics of the nano-spirals.
By using the ultrafast laser from Vanderbilt University and the one from Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, they managed to assess just how unique these spirals actually were. The results concerning the optical properties of the spiral were published in the Journal of Nanophotonics.
According to the doctoral student who figured out how to study the optical properties of the spiral, these are the smallest spirals ever reported in scientific literature.
If you are asking yourself just how small these nano-spirals actually are, just imagine that 100 nano-spirals, on their side, measure less than a hundredth millimeter width. The newly developed nano-spirals have stable arms, unlike its predecessors which were larger and less stable.
An interesting feature of these spiral is that, when they are shrunk to less than what the light wavelength is, they start showing unusual optical properties. For instance, if a infrared light is shined upon them, then they will shine a visible blue light, this phenomenon is called frequency doubling and it can only be found in some types of crystals.
The ability of the nano-spiral to react with a blue light to infrared is so powerful, that a ray not visible to the human eye, can be used to scan the device on which it is printed. This means that the nano-spiral sensor doesn`t even have to be in a visible portion of, let`s say… the credit card, in order to be scanned.
Scientists also suggest that this type of scan can be used on explosives and guns in order to track them and to reclaim them, if they happen to fall into the wrong hands.
Another advantageous feature of the nano-spiral scan is that they are so small in size, that they are virtually inexpensive to make, even though they are created from expensive precious metal.
Archimede`s nano-spirals, were designed by a former doctoral student, who now works at the Naval Research Laboratory, Jed Ziegler.
Image Source: hngn