5MB Of Data At Your Fingertip – Literally

By Kimberly Patch, Technology Research News

Researchers from the University of Tokushima and Hokkaido University have demonstrated that it is possible to read data written into a human fingernail using a laser, much like information is written on a rewritable compact disc. The data is read using an optical microscope. Two gigabits of data can be written per cubic centimeter of fingernail using these size dots. Today’s compact discs hold about 5.6 gigabits of data. A practical fingernail recording area of 5 millimeters by 5 millimeters by one tenth of a millimeter deep would hold 5 megabits of data, or about 300 pages of text.

They wrote dot patterns into a fingernail using a laser that emitted pulses lasting a few million billionths of a second. The molecules of the fingernail that were hit by the laser became ionized, and because ionized molecules repulse each other, they caused a tiny explosion. The explosion changed the structure of the material at that location by decomposing the keratin protein molecules located there. These areas can be read because they fluoresce, or absorb and emit light, at a higher rate than the surrounding fingernail material.

Read the rest of the article at trnmag.com to find out more about how this cool technology works!