CWRU researchers find a chemical solution shrinks digital data storage

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. 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.”

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