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Nano Material Storage This Nano Piano's Lullaby Could Mean a Storage Breakthrough...

| Author / Editor: University of Illinois / Sebastian Gerstl

Researchers have revealed the first recording of optically encoded audio onto a non-magnetic plasmonic nanostructure, opening the door to multiple uses.

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Nano piano concept: Arrays of gold, pillar-supported bowtie nanoantennas (bottom left) can be used to record distinct musical notes, as shown in the experimentally obtained dark-field microscopy images (bottom right). These particular notes were used to compose "Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star"
Nano piano concept: Arrays of gold, pillar-supported bowtie nanoantennas (bottom left) can be used to record distinct musical notes, as shown in the experimentally obtained dark-field microscopy images (bottom right). These particular notes were used to compose "Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star"
(Source: University of Illinois)

The photographic film property
exhibited by an array of novel gold, pillar-supported bowtie nanoantennas (pBNAs) was exploited to store sound and audio files. Compared with the conventional magnetic film for analog data storage, the storage capacity of pBNAs is around 5,600 times larger, indicating a vast array of
potential storage uses.

To demonstrate its abilities to store sound and audio files, the researchers led by
Kimani Toussaint, an associate professor of mechanical science and engineering, created a musical keyboard or "nano piano," using the available notes to play the short song, "Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star."

Storing Music in Nanosacle

The researchers showed that the pBNAs could be used to store sound information either as a temporally varying intensity waveform or a frequency varying intensity waveform. Eight basic musical notes, including middle C, D, and E, were stored on a pBNA chip and then retrieved and played back in a desired order to make a tune.

"A characteristic property of plasmonics is the spectrum," said Hao Chen, a former postdoctoral researcher in Toussaint's PROBE laboratory and the first author of the paper, "Plasmon-Assisted Audio Recording".

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Taking Nano–Storage to the Next level

Originating from a plasmon-induced thermal effect, well-controlled nanoscale morphological changes allow as much as a 100-nm spectral shift from the nanoantennas. By employing this spectral degree-of-freedom as an amplitude coordinate, the storage
capacity can be improved.

"Moreover, although our audio recording focused on analog data storage, in principle it is still possible to transform to digital data storage by having each bowtie serve as a unit bit 1 or 0," said Chen. "By modifying the size of the bowtie, it's feasible to further improve the storage capacity."

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