Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Nano-structured glass creates new type of computer memory

We've sure come a long way since frying ants with a magnifying glass. Researchers at the University of Southampton used nano-structures to create millimeter-sized "monolithic glass space-variant polarization converters," which ultimately changes the way light travels through and is stored in glass. These "whirlpools" of light data can be read like information stored in optical fibers -- allowing for "more precise laser material processing, optical manipulation of atom-sized objects, ultra-high resolution imaging and potentially, table-top particle accelerators." (Does that mean we all get one of these on our desks?) This new five dimensional approach is reusable, twenty times cheaper and more compact compared to old methods of microscopy using a spatial light modulator, making it a win-win. Check out the full PR after the fold.
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