Thursday, September 04, 2008

Ion Beams Used to Detect Counterfeit Wines

New nuclear technology keeps getting more and more interesting:

Nuclear scientists in France have unveiled a 21st century tool for unmasking counterfeit vintage wines, by zapping them with ion beams from a particle accelerator.

The beams, which are directed at the glass, not the wine, can distinguish how old the bottles are and where they might originate.

"The chemical composition of glass used to make bottles changed over time and was different from place to place," says Herve Guegan, a researcher at the National Center for Scientific Research (CNRS) in Bordeaux.

"We compare the suspect bottles with those that we know come from the chateaux."
The ion beams, though, can't detect the quality of the wines:
The ion beam analysis correctly dated bottles of German wine recovered from a German ship, the Deutschland, which sank in a storm off the coast of England in 1875, said Williams.

"The wine, however, wasn't very good. We still had a headache six months later," he said.
Sounds like a pretty bad hangover...

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