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Dr Minghui Zhou of the Van 't Hoff Institute for Molecular Sciences has been awarded a 50,000 euro grant in the Open Competition XS call of the Dutch Research Council NWO (Domain Science). She will use the grant to design new organic nonlinear optics and investigate their data storage abilities.
Dr Minghui Zhou is a postdoc with Prof. Dr Bas de Bruin (Homogeneous, Sustainable and B io-inspired Catalysis) and Prof. Dr Wybren Jan Buma (Molecular Photonics). She obtained her PhD at the University of Amsterdam in June 2023. Photo: HIMS.

The rapid development of Artifical Intelligence relies heavily on data storage devices, which is a domain facing sustainability challenges. The prevalent use of metals and inorganic materials in current devices is raising environmental concerns, both in their production and disposal. Consequently, there is an urgent need to find affordable and eco-friendly data storage solutions to address this issue. Utilizing organic nonlinear optics for data storage can present significant advantages over traditional inorganic-based counterparts, including eco-friendliness and sustainability.

Due to a relatively low optical response, the potential of current organic nonlinear optics systems for data storage is rather limited. To overcome these limitations, Zhou explores novel materials that feature photoswitchable electron-donor-bridge-acceptor molecules. Integrating such molecules  into organic nonlinear optics enables prolonging of the charge separation time, thereby enhancing the optical response.

Image: HIMS. Click to enlarge.

Notably, the optical response of these newly designed NLOs can be easily modulated with light, promising more efficient and flexible solutions for data storage.

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