A startup called Dust Identity raised $10m to grow its diamond-based security business.
The company, which uses tiny bits of diamond dust to help manufacturers secure their supply chains against counterfeiters, offers a solution to manufacturers who are struggling to control the quality of all the pieces that go into their products.
3D printing comes with a big downside
The rise of affordable 3D-printing has made it easier for manufacturers to fabricate specialty parts.
But, since anyone can scan a complicated component and then 3D print it, it has also made it harder for manufacturers to differentiate counterfeit parts from legitimate ones.
So the answer is… diamond dust?
Dust Identity mixes tiny, ground-up diamond fragments into a polymer and then sprays the whole mixture onto physical objects such as airplane parts or computer components.
When these objects dry, these tiny diamond fragments form a unique configuration that can be scanned into a database and used to authenticate objects as they move along a supply chain.
This surprisingly simple, physical solution is cheaper — and more foolproof — than other counterfeiting solutions such as holograph tags, RFID chips, or bar codes. The cheapest RFID tags cost around 15 cents each, while a diamond dust tag costs about 1/1000 of a cent.