Researchers Develop New Optical Storage Technology

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Researchers develop new optical storage technology that can replace Morse code, which is currently widely used in CDs and DVDs.

Morse code has been around since the 1830s and it is still used in optical media to aid in storage. Researchers from Purdue University have developed a technology to replace Morse code for modern optical storage. The researchers aim to enable remote data storage by this technology.

The new technology allows for more data to be stored and for that data to be read at a quicker rate. It encodes information in the angular position of tiny antennas, allowing them to store more data per unit area. The work is published in the journal Laser & Photonics Reviews.

“The storage capacity greatly increases because it is only defined by the resolution of the sensor by which you can determine the angular positions of antennas,” said Alexander Kildishev, an associate professor of electrical and computer engineering in Purdue’s College of Engineering. “We map the antenna angles into colors, and the colors are decoded.”

The CDs and DVDs available today are mass produced by stamping the same dots and dashes format.

“Our metasurface-based ‘optical storage’ is just like that,” said Di Wang, a former Ph.D. student who fabricated the prototype structure. “Whereas in our demo prototype, the information is ‘burnt in’ by electron-beam lithography, it could be replicated by a more scalable manufacturing process in the final product.”

“You can put four sensors nearby, and each sensor would read its own polarization of light,” Kildishev said. “This helps increase the speed of readout of information compared to the use of a single sensor with dots and dashes.”

Further applications of this technology includes security tagging and cryptography.


 

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