Ultralong-Term High-Density Data Storage with Atomic Defects in SiC

Research output: Contribution to journalResearch articleContributedpeer-review


  • M. Hollenbach - , Helmholtz-Zentrum Dresden-Rossendorf (Author)
  • C. Kasper - , University of Würzburg, Würzburg-Dresden Cluster of Excellence ct.qmat (Author)
  • D. Erb - , Helmholtz-Zentrum Dresden-Rossendorf (Author)
  • L. Bischoff - , Helmholtz-Zentrum Dresden-Rossendorf (Author)
  • G. Hlawacek - , Helmholtz-Zentrum Dresden-Rossendorf (Author)
  • H. Kraus - , California Institute of Technology (Author)
  • W. Kada - , Tohoku University (Author)
  • T. Ohshima - , National Institutes for Quantum and Radiological Science and Technology, Tohoku University (Author)
  • M. Helm - , Chair of Semiconductor Spectroscopy, Helmholtz-Zentrum Dresden-Rossendorf (Author)
  • S. Facsko - , Helmholtz-Zentrum Dresden-Rossendorf (Author)
  • V. Dyakonov - , University of Würzburg (Author)
  • G. V. Astakhov - , Helmholtz-Zentrum Dresden-Rossendorf (Author)


There is an urgent need to increase the global data storage capacity, as current approaches lag behind the exponential growth of data generation driven by the Internet, social media, and cloud technologies. In addition to increasing storage density, new solutions should provide long-term data archiving that goes far beyond traditional magnetic memory, optical disks, and solid-state drives. Here, a concept of energy-efficient, ultralong, high-density data archiving is proposed, based on optically active atomic-size defects in a radiation resistance material, silicon carbide (SiC). The information is written in these defects by focused ion beams and read using photoluminescence or cathodoluminescence. The temperature-dependent deactivation of these defects suggests a retention time minimum over a few generations under ambient conditions. With near-infrared laser excitation, grayscale encoding and multi-layer data storage, the areal density corresponds to that of Blu-ray discs. Furthermore, it is demonstrated that the areal density limitation of conventional optical data storage media due to the light diffraction can be overcome by focused electron-beam excitation.


Original languageEnglish
JournalAdvanced functional materials
Publication statusPublished - 2024

External IDs

Mendeley 0dd60322-f673-3b4c-97fc-82df47648873



  • cathodoluminescence, color centers, data storage, focused ion beams, silicon carbide