Spectroscopy Applied to Detection of Fake Whisky

April 6, 2011

Researchers use spectroscopic techniques to detect counterfeit liquids through the bottle.

Researchers from the University of Leicester’s Space Research Centre (Leicester, United Kingdom) have collaborated with De Montfort University (Leicester, United Kingdom) to identify fake whisky and wine, through the bottle, using spectroscopy. The team has adapted technology originally used to analyze the characteristics of light reflected from printed packaging to develop a handheld device that can detect counterfeit liquids.

Using a spectrometer originally designed for the Space Research Centre, the team developed the technology to detect counterfeit medicines, and hopes to apply the technology to detecting counterfeit liquids. In addition to benefiting whisky and wine lovers, the ability to successfully identify liquids through the bottle could be a great advantage for airline security systems.

The team plans to “design, build, and test a laboratory prototype that will allow us to prove the technology works,” said Tim Maskell, Knowledge Transfer Manager in the Space Research Centre at the University of Leicester, in a statement. “If we can then take the technology and do something similar with other liquids, there are potential airport security opportunities, too.”