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A new technique for checking whiskey authenticity using a laser

Researchers from the University of St Andrews have developed an innovative new technique using lasers to accurately measure the authenticity of some of the world's most exclusive whiskies—without ever removing the cap.

Iconic bottles of whisky have been known to sell for prices over £1 million. But if you are the lucky owner of such a whisky, how can you be confident that the contents of the bottle are the genuine product? Counterfeit drinks cost the UK economy more than £200 million in lost revenue each year, according to a 2018 study published by the European Union's Intellectual Property Office.

New research led by scientists from the School of Physics and Astronomy, published in the journal Analytical Methods, has led to the development of a method using lasers which can see through the bottle to analyze the contents. The challenge in doing so was to record a signal from the contents without recording signals from the glass.

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