Optical data storage in photochromic compounds

William Dallari*, Marco Scotto D'Abbusco, Elena Samoylova, Francesca Pignatelli, Athanassia Athanassiou, Roberto Cingolani, Alberto Diaspro, Marco Allione

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contributionpeer-review

1 Scopus citations


The future of optical data storage and the search for next generation high-density technologies have become a topic of lively debate. Three dimensional (3D) optical data storage, a relatively new technique which enables hundreds-layer data recording in a hard memory, seems a viable candidate for this role. In this work, we report on 3D optical data storage in photochromic compounds. The recording medium used in the experiments was a photochromic diarylethenes derivative embedded in different host polymers. Multi-photon processes capability of triggering photochemical reactions and physical changes with micrometer-sized resolution in three dimensions offers a well-suited means to achieve volumetric storage densities. A commercial microscope coupled to pulsed NIR and CW lasers have been used to write, read and erase data in our prototype memories. Information was recorded within the volume of the media via a multi-photon process achieving high localized photoconversion and the fluorescence emission from the photoconverted molecules when excited by a 405 nm laser diode was the readout signal. It is also shown that data recorded in such a medium can be selectively erased by irradiating with 514 nm CW laser light giving the chance to write new data in the formerly used memory space. These storage media, thus, have good potentials to achieve volumetric storage of data although they certainly deserve further optimization work to achieve high number of superposed layers and to assure durability of the written data under readout conditions.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationOrganic Photonic Materials and Devices XIII
StatePublished - 2011
Externally publishedYes
EventOrganic Photonic Materials and Devices XIII - San Francisco, CA, United States
Duration: Jan 24 2011Jan 26 2011

Publication series

NameProceedings of SPIE - The International Society for Optical Engineering
ISSN (Print)0277-786X


OtherOrganic Photonic Materials and Devices XIII
Country/TerritoryUnited States
CitySan Francisco, CA


  • multi-photon confocal microscopy
  • optical data storage
  • photochromic molecules

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Electronic, Optical and Magnetic Materials
  • Condensed Matter Physics
  • Computer Science Applications
  • Applied Mathematics
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering


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