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Enabling optical steganography, data storage, and encryption with plasmonic colors

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posted on 2023-11-30, 20:31 authored by Maowen Song, Di Wang, Zhaxylyk A. Kudyshev, Yi Xuan, Zhuoxian Wang, Alexandra Boltasseva, Vladimir M. Shalaev, Alexander V. Kildishev
Plasmonic color generation utilizing ultra-thin metasurfaces as well as metallic nanoparticles hold a great promise for a wide range of applications, including color displays, data storage, and information encryption due to its high spatial resolution and mechanical/chemical stability. Most of the recently demonstrated systems generate static colors; however, more advanced applications such as data storage require fast and flexible means to tune the plasmonic colors, while keeping them vibrant and stable. Here, a surface-relief aluminum metasurface that reflects polarization-tunable plasmonic colors is designed and experimentally demonstrated. Excitation of localized surface plasmons encodes discrete combinations of the incident and reflected polarized light into diverse colors. A single storage unit - a nanopixel - stores a multiple-bit piece of information in the orientation of its constituent nanoantennae. This information is then reliably retrieved by inspecting the reflected color sequence with two linear polarizers. It is the broad color variability and high spatial resolution of the proposed encoding approach that supports a strong promise for rapid parallel read-out and encryption of high-density optical data. Our method also enables the robust generation of dynamic kaleidoscopic images with no detrimental "cross-talk" effect. The approach opens up a new route for advanced dynamic steganography, high-density parallel-access optical data storage, and optical information encryption.

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