Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

CWRU researchers find a chemical solution to shrink digital data storage

22.06.2017

Chemists at Case Western Reserve University have found a way to possibly store digital data in half the space current systems require.

From supercomputers to smartphones, the amount of data people generate and collect continues to grow exponentially, and the need to store all that information grows with it.


CWRU chemists developed a space-saving method to store digital data optically, using four-symbol, or quaternary code. The four symbols are the absence of color and three colors -- fluorescent green, ultramarine and cyan -- produced when dyes contained in a common polymer are exposed to heat, ultraviolet light or both.

Credit: Emily Pentzer

Computers and other digital devices operate and store data using a binary code, meaning two symbols--typically the numerals 0 and 1-- represent information. To reduce storage space, engineers have traditionally used existing technology but made it smaller.

For example, a compact disc is made with a red laser and a Blu-ray disc with a blue, more focused, laser that reduces the size of the symbols and the space between them, increasing data density.

But according to a new study published in the Journal of Materials Chemistry C., researchers at Case Western Reserve demonstrate how commonly used polymer films containing two dyes can optically store data in a quaternary (four-symbol) code, potentially requiring about half as much space.

"We're using chemistry instead of engineering to address data storage, but it's really complementary to what engineers are doing," said Emily Pentzer, assistant professor of chemistry at Case Western Reserve and study author. She worked with PhD students Peiran Wei and Bowen Li and Research Assistant Al de Leon on the project.

How it works

To take advantage of the quaternary storage, computer programs would need to be written in quaternary code instead of binary code, which Pentzer said would be easy with the system they used.

Instead of numerals, the optical-storage system uses the absence of color and three colors produced by the dyes as the symbols representing information.

The study

The researchers loaded a small amount--less than .4 percent by weight--of the two dye molecules into a flexible sheet of poly(methyl methacrylate), a polymer film called PMMA. PMMA is clear and colorless in ambient light and temperature.

One dye, cyano-substituted oligo(p-phenyene vinylene) fluoresces green when exposed to heat. The second dye, o-nitrobenzyl ester of benzoic acid, fluoresces ultramarine when exposed to ultraviolet light. When the overlapping dyes are exposed to both heat and UV light, they fluoresce as cyan.

Pentzer's team wrote code by laying metal or wood templates over the dye-containing film, then applying heat and ultraviolet light. They cut their templates and applied code using facilities at Case Western Reserve's Larry Sears and Sally Zlotnick Sears think[box].

Results and next steps

The circular symbols in the template were each 300 micrometers across, with 200 micrometers between them. The code proved durable, remaining legible even after the film had been rolled, bent, written on with permanent marker, submerged in boiling water and half the surface had been rubbed away with sandpaper.

The team is now investigating the use of specialized lasers to shrink the spatial resolution and therefore increase the data density (think CD vs. Blu-ray).

They are also investigating whether a third dye can be added that responds to different stimuli and remains distinct from the other two. If so, the colorless film, plus all the color combinations available, would allow the research team to store data using a septenary, or seven-symbol code, further shrinking storage.

Media Contact

Kevin Mayhood
kevin.mayhood@case.edu
216-534-7183

 @cwru

http://www.case.edu 

Kevin Mayhood | EurekAlert!

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht Scientists uncover the role of a protein in production & survival of myelin-forming cells
19.07.2018 | Advanced Science Research Center, GC/CUNY

nachricht NYSCF researchers develop novel bioengineering technique for personalized bone grafts
18.07.2018 | New York Stem Cell Foundation

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Future electronic components to be printed like newspapers

A new manufacturing technique uses a process similar to newspaper printing to form smoother and more flexible metals for making ultrafast electronic devices.

The low-cost process, developed by Purdue University researchers, combines tools already used in industry for manufacturing metals on a large scale, but uses...

Im Focus: First evidence on the source of extragalactic particles

For the first time ever, scientists have determined the cosmic origin of highest-energy neutrinos. A research group led by IceCube scientist Elisa Resconi, spokesperson of the Collaborative Research Center SFB1258 at the Technical University of Munich (TUM), provides an important piece of evidence that the particles detected by the IceCube neutrino telescope at the South Pole originate from a galaxy four billion light-years away from Earth.

To rule out other origins with certainty, the team led by neutrino physicist Elisa Resconi from the Technical University of Munich and multi-wavelength...

Im Focus: Magnetic vortices: Two independent magnetic skyrmion phases discovered in a single material

For the first time a team of researchers have discovered two different phases of magnetic skyrmions in a single material. Physicists of the Technical Universities of Munich and Dresden and the University of Cologne can now better study and understand the properties of these magnetic structures, which are important for both basic research and applications.

Whirlpools are an everyday experience in a bath tub: When the water is drained a circular vortex is formed. Typically, such whirls are rather stable. Similar...

Im Focus: Breaking the bond: To take part or not?

Physicists working with Roland Wester at the University of Innsbruck have investigated if and how chemical reactions can be influenced by targeted vibrational excitation of the reactants. They were able to demonstrate that excitation with a laser beam does not affect the efficiency of a chemical exchange reaction and that the excited molecular group acts only as a spectator in the reaction.

A frequently used reaction in organic chemistry is nucleophilic substitution. It plays, for example, an important role in in the synthesis of new chemical...

Im Focus: New 2D Spectroscopy Methods

Optical spectroscopy allows investigating the energy structure and dynamic properties of complex quantum systems. Researchers from the University of Würzburg present two new approaches of coherent two-dimensional spectroscopy.

"Put an excitation into the system and observe how it evolves." According to physicist Professor Tobias Brixner, this is the credo of optical spectroscopy....

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

Leading experts in Diabetes, Metabolism and Biomedical Engineering discuss Precision Medicine

13.07.2018 | Event News

Conference on Laser Polishing – LaP: Fine Tuning for Surfaces

12.07.2018 | Event News

11th European Wood-based Panel Symposium 2018: Meeting point for the wood-based materials industry

03.07.2018 | Event News

 
Latest News

A smart safe rechargeable zinc ion battery based on sol-gel transition electrolytes

20.07.2018 | Power and Electrical Engineering

Reversing cause and effect is no trouble for quantum computers

20.07.2018 | Information Technology

Princeton-UPenn research team finds physics treasure hidden in a wallpaper pattern

20.07.2018 | Materials Sciences

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>