Nanoporous hard data: optical encoding of information within nanoporous anodic alumina photonic crystals†
Herein, we present a method for storing binary data within the spectral signature of nanoporous anodic alumina photonic crystals. A rationally designed multi-sinusoidal anodisation approach makes it possible to engineer the photonic stop band of nanoporous anodic alumina with precision. As a result, the transmission spectrum of these photonic nanostructures can be engineered to feature well-resolved and selectively positioned characteristic peaks across the UV-visible spectrum. Using this property, we implement an 8-bit binary code and assess the versatility and capability of this system by a series of experiments aiming to encode different information within the nanoporous anodic alumina photonic crystals. The obtained results reveal that the proposed nanosized platform is robust, chemically stable, versatile and has a set of unique properties for data storage, opening new opportunities for developing advanced nanophotonic tools for a wide range of applications, including sensing, photonic tagging, self-reporting drug releasing systems and secure encoding of information.