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Plant DNA vs. Counterfeit Chips

A genetic mark might help keep counterfeit components out of the electronics supply chain

3 min read
Photo of Applied DNA Sciences chip.
Real Deal: Applied DNA Sciences uses a genetic marker to authenticate chips and other products.
Photo: Applied DNA Sciences

3 May 2012—Increasingly concerned about counterfeit electronics in its supply chain, the U.S. Department of Defense is attacking the problem on two fronts: It’s cracking down on defense contractors to increase their vigilance, and it’s looking for new technologies to fight the counterfeiters.

A leading new technology in the struggle against counterfeiters comes from an odd source: plants. The Defense Logistics Agency (DLA), which procures materials and parts for the U.S. military, is working with Applied DNA Sciences, in Stony Brook, N.Y., which has developed a technique that uses plant DNA to authenticate chips and other components. Other industries currently use the technology to authenticate luxury goods, textiles, and currency.

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The Transistor at 75

The past, present, and future of the modern world’s most important invention

2 min read
A photo of a birthday cake with 75 written on it.
Lisa Sheehan

Seventy-five years is a long time. It’s so long that most of us don’t remember a time before the transistor, and long enough for many engineers to have devoted entire careers to its use and development. In honor of this most important of technological achievements, this issue’s package of articles explores the transistor’s historical journey and potential future.

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