We present a novel method for three-dimensional optical data storage that has submicrometer size resolution, provides a large contrast in index of refraction, and is applicable to a wide range of transparent materials. Bits are recorded by use of a 0.65-N.A. objective to focus 100-fs laser pulses inside the material. The laser pulse produces a submicrometer-diameter structurally altered region with high contrast in index of refraction. We record binary information by writing such bits in multiple planes and read it out with a microscope objective with a short depth of field. We demonstrate data storage and retrieval with 2-μm in-plane bit spacing and 15-μm interplane spacing (17 Gbits/cm3). Scanning electron microscopy and atomic force microscopy show structural changes confined to an area 200 nm in diameter.
© 1996 Optical Society of America
Original Manuscript: July 26, 1996
Published: December 15, 1996
E. N. Glezer, M. Milosavljevic, L. Huang, R. J. Finlay, T.-H. Her, J. P. Callan, and E. Mazur, "Three-dimensional optical storage inside transparent materials," Opt. Lett. 21, 2023-2025 (1996)