Engineering 101

Say Goodbye to Dots and Dashes

Purdue University just created technology that can replace Morse code with colored “digital characters” modernizing optical storage. Morse code goes back to the 1830s and it is antiquated given the amount of information needed to gather, digitally archive, and rapidly access. Yet, the dots and dashes of Morse code are still used in many optical media.

Purdue’s innovation modernizes optical digital storage technology, allowing for more data to be stored and read faster. The research is published in Laser & Photonics Reviews.

Purdue innovators replace dots and dashes with encoded information in the angular position of tiny antennas, allowing them to store more data per unit area. Storage capacity is only defined by the resolution of the sensor by which you can determine the angular positions of antennas.  The antenna angles are mapped into colors, and the colors are decoded.

The technology is increasing storage space availability in optical digital storage technologies. Not all optical data storage media needs to be laser-writable or rewritable. The new development not only allows for more information to be stored but also increases the readout rate.

Future applications for this technology include security tagging and cryptography. To continue developing these capabilities, the team is looking to partner with interested parties in the industry.

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