Los Alamos National Labs with logo 2021

Without a Trace

Some packages are so valuable that they require a way to unequivocally reveal if anyone has tried to get in.
March 8, 2016
Rows of cans marked radioactive on a storage shelf

The International Atomic Energy Agency uses tens of thousands of tamper-evident seals annually to help monitor nuclear material around the world. CREDIT: IAEA

“The seal is designed to provide irreversible evidence that someone has tried to contact the item or location.”

Paving the way for a new era of verification technologies, a team at the Los Alamos Engineering Institute is developing a novel tamper-evident seal. Similar to the pop-top on a jar of spaghetti sauce, the seal is not a lock, but rather a foolproof way to verify that no one has accessed the contents of the container.

By combining the conductive properties of graphene and a signal-processing scheme called compressive sensing, Los Alamos scientists have developed a prototype that could change the way special materials are monitored worldwide—including nuclear materials secured by the International Atomic Energy Agency.