The thinnest CD-RW: Atomic-scale data storage possible

Credit: Pixabay/CC0 Public Domain

Using a focused laser beam, scientists can manipulate properties of nanomaterials, thus 'writing' information onto monolayer materials. By this means, the thinnest light disk at atomic level was demonstrated.

The bottleneck in atomic-scale area may be broken by a simple technique, thanks to recent innovative studies conducted by scientists from Nanjing Normal University (NJNU) and Southeast University (SEU).

Through a simple, efficient and low-cost technique involving the focused laser and ozone treatment, the NJNU and SEU research teams, leading by Prof. Hongwei Liu, Prof. Junpeng Lu and Prof. Zhenhua Ni demonstrated that the photoluminescence (PL) emission of WS2 monolayers can be controlled and modified, and consequently, it works as the thinnest light disk with rewritable data storage and encryption capability.

"In our childhood, most of us are likely to have experience of focusing sunlight onto a piece of paper by magnifying glass and trying to ignite the paper. The scorched spot on paper is a sort of data recording at the moment. Instead of focusing sunlight, we focus laser beam on modified materials and study effects of the focused laser beam on PL emissions of the materials," said Prof. Lu.

Data storage and encryption: information 'drawn' on ozone treated WS2 films

Owing to its advantage of direct visibility, PL is usually considered as an ideal technology in terms of encryption and decryption data storage. For a straightforward and effective encryption data storage method, the following aspects are desired: (i) direct writing (fast writing-in speed); (ii) high security level; (iii) large data storage capacity; (iv) visual decryption reading; (v) erasing capability.

To address these technological challenges, researchers demonstrate the thinnest light disk with encryption functionality.

The write-through and erasable encryption are realized on WS2 monolayers. The writing-in and reading-out of information are enabled by the directly controlling of fluorescence contrast of WS2 monolayers. Ozone and focused laser beam scanning are employed to on-demand manipulate PL emission and realize encryption.

With this simple and low cost approach, the scientists were able to use the focused laser beam to selectively 'write' information onto any region of the film to storage encrypted data. In addition, the written data are erasable, making the light disk reusable.

Interestingly, the evolution of PL emission with different writing powers could be used to assign different gray levels. The 16 gray levels assignment indicates a typical triangle WS2 monolayer with the side length of 60 μm can storage ~1 KB data. Owing the and power sensitivity, the storage capacity within 1 nm thickness could be up to ~62.5 MB/cm2 and the writing speed can reach ~6.25 MB/s. This technology will be beneficial to extend the optical into low dimensional regime, offering an unexpected information-secure solution to exchange data.

This innovation was first published online in the journal Advanced Functional Materials on 24 June 2021.

The fast-growing information field demands higher security and larger capability. To develop light disk that cater to the industry standard, The research teams from NJNU and SEU will extend the versatile focused technique to wafer-scale monolayer material. In addition, they will look into further improving the storge capability of light disk via normal direction stacking.

More information: Weiwei Zhao et al, The Thinnest Light Disk: Rewritable Data Storage and Encryption on WS2 Monolayers, Advanced Functional Materials (2021). DOI: 10.1002/adfm.202103140

Journal information: Advanced Functional Materials

Provided by Nanjing Normal University

Citation: The thinnest CD-RW: Atomic-scale data storage possible (2021, July 28) retrieved 29 February 2024 from
This document is subject to copyright. Apart from any fair dealing for the purpose of private study or research, no part may be reproduced without the written permission. The content is provided for information purposes only.

Explore further

Sub-diffraction optical writing enables data storage at the nanoscale


Feedback to editors