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Researchers at the University of Rochester have made an optics breakthrough that allows them to encode an entire image's worth of data into a photon, slow the image down for storage, and then retrieve the image intact.
While the initial test image consists of only a few hundred pixels, a tremendous amount of information can be stored with the new technique.
The image, a "UR" for the University of Rochester, was made using a single pulse of light and the team can fit as many as a hundred of these pulses at once into a tiny, four-inch cell.
Squeezing that much information into so small a space and retrieving it intact opens the door to optical buffering—storing information as light.