The scientists, Konstantinos Iliopoulos and coauthors from the University of Angers, France, have published their study in a recent issue of the Journal of the American Chemical Society.
The researchers designed a new class of nonlinear optical (NLO) coumarin-based polymers that can be reversibly transformed into dimers (which are large molecules made of two identical smaller molecules) under irradiation by different wavelengths of light. Whereas wavelengths greater than 300 nm can produce dimers, wavelengths less than 280 nm do the reverse, separating each dimer into two individual molecules. Since each type of molecule is electronically and structurally very different, optically controlling this process can provide the basis for writing, reading, erasing, and rewriting data.
To demonstrate the possibility of writing data in this way, the scientists irradiated a coumarin-based polymerwavelength of 700 nm (for a two-photon process at 350 nm). The laser created a photodimerization reaction of the coumarin molecules, changing the polymer into a dimer form. By controlling the irradiation, the scientists demonstrated the recording of lines and dots.
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