Artificial tongue's nanoscale "tastebuds" can sort real whisky from counterfeits more than 99% of the time

In Whisky tasting using a bimetallic nanoplasmonic tongue (Nanoscale/Royal Society of Chemistry), a team from U Glasgow's School of Engineering describe their work on an "artificial tongue" lined with "tastebuds" that sense "plasmonic resonance" (the absorption of light by liquids) to produced highly detailed accounts of the profiles of Scotch whiskys, which can be used to determine whether a given whisky is counterfeit.

The team claims more than 99% sensing and identification accuracy.

We have presented a reusable bimetallic nanoplasmonic tongue that displays two distinct resonance peaks per region and whose orthogonal surface chemistries can be selectively modified to tune their ‘tasting’ sensitivity. These unique features have allowed us to halve both the sensor size and necessary data-acquisition time while still providing dataset clustering upon PCA and successful classification with LDA. This is a versatile system, allowing the development of high quality nanoplasmonic tongues for any given application via simple alterations to the chosen surface ligands and/or plasmonic metals in order to produce new sensors with unique chemical responses. This new approach to artificial tongue design may spur the development of portable devices for applications in a point of care diagnostics, counterfeit detection in high-value drinks, environmental monitoring, and defense.

Whisky tasting using a bimetallic nanoplasmonic tongue [Gerard Macias, Justin R. Sperling, William J. Peveler, Glenn A. Burley, Steven L. Neale and Alasdair W. Clark/Nanoscale]

(via Beyond the Beyond)