Today’s huge amount of data generation and transfer induced an urgent requirement for long-term data storage. Here, we demonstrate and discuss a novel concept for long-term storage using NV centers inside nanodiamonds. The approach is based upon the radiation-induced generation of additional vacancies (so-called GR1 states), which quench the initial NV centers, resulting in a reduced overall fluorescence lifetime of the NV center. Using the tailored fluorescence lifetime of the NV center to code the information we demonstrate a “beyond binary” data storage density per bit. We also demonstrate that this process is reversible by heating the sample or the spot of information. This proof of principle shows that our technique may be a promising alternative data storage technology, especially in terms of long-term storage due to the high stability of the involved color centers. In addition to the proof of principle demonstration using macroscopic samples, we suggest and discuss the usage of focused electron beams to write information in nanodiamond materials, to read it out with focused low-intensity light, and to erase it on a macro, micro, or nanoscale.
Supplementary Information Fluorescence Lifetime Control of NV Centers in Nanodiamonds for Long-Term Information Storage