Lasers shed light on counterfeit whisky

From BBC.com

A new method to tackle the counterfeiting of Scotch whisky using laser technology has been developed.

St. Andrews University researchers have claimed they can work out a whisky's brand, age and cask by using a ray of light the size of a human hair. They said the test could prove if a whisky is genuine or not using a sample no bigger than a teardrop.

Counterfeiting is understood to be a major problem for the drinks industry which seeks new methods of detection.

The technique involves researchers placing a tiny amount of whisky on a transparent plastic chip no bigger than a credit card. Using optical fibers the width of a hair, the whisky sample is illuminated by light using one fibee, and collected by another.
By analysing the collection of light scattered from the whisky, the researchers say they are able to diagnose the sample.

The key lies in the ability of the laser to detect the amount of alcohol contained in the sample, genuine whisky must contain at least 40%.

The method exploits both the fluorescence of whisky and the scattering of light and shift in energy when it interacts with molecules, known as its Raman signature.

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