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ARTIFICIAL TONGUE COULD HAVE WHISKY COUNTERFEITING LICKED

Alia Talaat

An artificial ‘tongue’ which can taste subtle differences between drams of whisky could help cut down on the trade in counterfeit alcohol, scientists say.

In a new paper published today in the Royal Society of Chemistry’s journal Nanoscale, Scottish engineers describe how they built the tiny taster, which exploits the optical properties of gold and aluminium to test the tipples.

Sub-microscopic slices of the two metals, arranged in a checkerboard pattern, act as the ‘tastebuds’ in the team’s artificial tongue. The researchers poured samples of whisky over the tastebuds – which are about 500 times smaller than their human equivalents – and measured how they absorb light while submerged.
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