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Physical Review Letters
Volume 98, Number 15, 153905 (April 2007).

All-optical phase-change memory in a single gallium nanoparticle1-4

Bruno F. Soares, Fredrik Jonsson and Nikolay I. Zheludev

EPSRC Nanophotonics Portfolio Centre, School of Physics and Astronomy, University of Southampton, SO17 1BJ, United Kingdom.


We report on the first demonstration of a quaternary-logical resonator-less optical memory element with information encoded in the structural phase of a single 80 nm gallium nanoparticle. The size of the memory element is comparable with bits in next-generation hard disks, and radically smaller than previously suggested memories exploiting optical resonators. Furthermore, the energy required for switching the nanoparticle is one order of magnitude less than needed in DVD/DVR or hard disk technologies.

Full text: PDF [927 kB] | DOI: 10.1103/PhysRevLett.98.153905


1 This article was selected as an Editors' Suggestion by the Physical Review Letters editorial board.

2 Nature Nanotechnology featured this work as a research highlight, »Just a phase», in their April 2007 issue, available via DOI: 10.1038/nnano.2007.138, or at (requires subscription).

3 In the issue of 20th of April, 2007, Physical Review Focus featured this work. The story, written by Jonathan Sherwood, a senior science writer at the University of Rochester, New York, is available at

4 On 14th of May, 2007, Nanotechweb featured this work in an article written by Belle Dumé. Read more at

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