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Edible unclonable functions

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  • Jung Woo Leem
  • Min Seok Kim
  • Seung Ho Choi
  • Seong-Ryul Kim
  • Seong-Wan Kim
  • Young Min Song
  • Robert Young
  • Young L. Kim
Article number328
<mark>Journal publication date</mark>16/01/2020
<mark>Journal</mark>Nature Communications
Publication StatusPublished
<mark>Original language</mark>English


Counterfeit medicines are a fundamental security problem. Counterfeiting medication poses a tremendous threat to patient safety, public health, and the economy in developed and less developed countries. Current solutions are often vulnerable due to the limited security levels. We propose that the highest protection against counterfeit medicines would be a combination of a physically unclonable function (PUF) with on-dose authentication. A PUF can provide a digital fingerprint with multiple pairs of input challenges and output responses. On-dose authentication can verify every individual pill without removing the identification tag. Here, we report on-dose PUFs that can be directly attached onto the surface of medicines, be swallowed, and digested. Fluorescent proteins and silk proteins serve as edible photonic biomaterials and the photoluminescent properties provide parametric support of challenge-response pairs. Such edible cryptographic primitives can play an important role in pharmaceutical anti-counterfeiting and other security applications requiring immediate destruction or vanishing features.