Even with the rise of USB flash drives, discs have not been rendered obsolete. With their compatibility with a wide array of devices and high storage limits, disc technology is being contributed to rather than being abandoned for other pursuits. However, a common gripe about discs is when they are mishandled or broken. Once a disc is scratched or broken in pieces, the data it contained is lost forever. Although USB flash drives are not indestructible, they are not as sensitive as discs and often have some sort of protective casing to which they are attached to. More often than not, the only protection that discs have are the casing that they are taken out of when used and have to rely on human diligence.
To contribute to the research and technology on discs and providing ways for their shortfalls to be addressed, researchers from the Swinburne University of Techology in Australia have demonstrated a new potential of discs which directly addresses this issue. A study by researchers Xiangping Li, Qiming Zhang, Xi Chen and Professor Min Gu have utilized a graphene oxide polymer composite which can contain holographic coding.
Similar to graphene that enabled Andre Geim and Konstantin Novoselov to win the 2010 Nobel Prize in Physics, graphene oxide is strong, light, nearly transparent, flexible and an excellent conductor of heat and energy. The enhancement it has over graphene is that is contains a fundamental fluorescent property which is perfect for bio imaging and multimode optical recording, thereby offering a new and advanced mechanism for multimode optical recording.
The researchers utilized graphene oxide by focusing an ultrashort laser beam onto the polymer, thereby creating an increase of 10-100 times in the refractive-index of the graphene oxide while demonstrating a decrease in its fluorescence. When tested through encoded an image of a kangaroo in a computer-generated hologram, the encrypted pattern was not able to be seen as a microscope image but was able to be retrieved in the diffracted mode. This enhances the level of security storage security and allows information to be retrieved even when the disc is broken into several pieces.
Graphene is being seen as the revolutionary replacement for silicon, and graphene oxide may be able to revolutionize solar cell technology and flat screen TVs, thereby pushing forth a new generation of information technology for electronics and photonics. Until then, consumers can enjoy the relief of not having to fall to pieces if their disc does.