German scientists have invented a new kind of anti-piracy hologram that uses explosives to imprint holograms directly onto metal surfaces.

The nano-technology process uses a thin film of explosive material placed on the surface and detonated.

The explosion imprints every detail of the original film onto the metal surface, where it lasts permanently.

Blowing up pirates

The shock wave also causes the embossed material to become harder, while the complex holograms cannot be easily copied by pirate manufacturers - even if identical templates are used.

As well as directly embossing high value metallic goods like electronics and car parts, the explosive hologram process can be used to create moulds for plastic products with clearly visible holograms.

It is estimated that forged products currently account for approximately 10 per cent of total world trade volume.

The new process, if widely adopted, could soon become cheap enough to emboss everything from Blu-ray discs to prescription medicine packaging.