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A smart card is a device with the dimensions of a credit card that uses a small microchip to store and process data. In many cases, smart cards have replaced old magnetic cards because they can handle more information and provide more functionality. Smart cards are now in use in many industries, including retail, transit systems and security services.
Using advanced processes like electron beam lithography, smart card makers can embed small chips and circuitry on a printed card. As data storage technology continues to advance, manufacturers will continue to increase the functionality of smart cards by working with elements of these cards at the nanoscale. Similarly, some companies have shown that it's possible to reverse-engineer smart cards using electron microscopes and other equipment and to analyze the solid-state design of smart card layers where chemical doping produces certain kinds of data functionality. Smart cards are convenient for consumers, and billions of them are now in use worldwide.