Say Goodbye to Dots and Dashes: Next-Generation Optical Storage

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Say Goodbye to Dots and Dashes: Next-Generation Optical Storage

Purdue University researchers have developed technology that aims to revolutionize optical storage by replacing Morse code with colored “digital characters.” They are sure that the development will aid in the exponential growth of distant data storage during and following the COVID-19 pandemic.

Morse code dates all the way back to the 1830s. The traditional dots and dashes technique may appear ancient in light of the volume of data that must be acquired, digitally saved, and instantly retrieved on a daily basis. However, those same basic dots and dashes are still used to aid in the storing of numerous optical media.

Purdue researchers have created a new technology aimed at updating optical digital storage technology. This development enables the storage of more data and the reading of that data at a faster rate. Laser & Photonics Reviews published the research.

Rather than the dots and dashes traditionally utilized in these technologies, the Purdue innovators encode information utilizing the angular position of small antennas, which allows for more data storage per unit area.

“The storage capacity increases significantly because it is defined solely by the resolution of the sensor used to determine the angular positions of antennas,” explained Alexander Kildishev, an associate professor of electrical and computer engineering in Purdue’s College of Engineering. “We convert the antenna angles to colors and then decode the colors.”

The advancement of technology has resulted in an increase in the amount of store capacity available in optical digital storage technologies. Not all optical data storage media must be writable with a laser or rewritable with a laser.

The vast majority of CDs, DVDs, and Blu-Ray discs are “stamped” and therefore unrecordable. This type of optical medium is critical for disposable cold storage because it provides rapid access, a long shelf life, and great archiving qualities.

A Blu-Ray disc is created using a pressing process in which a silicon stamper repeats the same dot-and-dash format as the final disc. After that, a thin nickel coating is applied to create a negative imprint. Blu-ray discs, like DVDs and CDs, are mass-produced.

“Our metasurface-based ‘optical storage’ is exactly that,” Di Wang, a former Ph.D. student who designed the prototype structure, explained. “Whereas the information is ‘burned in’ using electron-beam lithography in our demo prototype, it could be replicated in the final product using a more scalable manufacturing process.”

This new improvement not only enhances the amount of data that can be saved, but also the reading rate.

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