Boffins Develop Disc with 1.6TB Storage Capacity
Researchers at Swinburne University of Technology have reportedly created a new storage media that has the capacity to store 300 times the data stored on standard DVDs. According to a report by Nature journal, the new optical recording method could fit a massive 1.6 terabytes of information on a DVD-sized disc.
Described by the researchers as “five-dimensional” optical recording, the technique uses nanometre-sized particles of gold as a recording medium. These gold particles have a peculiar property of acting as “nano-rods” to provide a third dimension for data recording.
By manipulating the light pointed at these gold nano-rods, the researchers were able to increase the two spatial-dimensions on DVDs and CDs to five. These include a spectral / colour dimension, a polarisation one and the third, a spatial dimension formed of 10 layers of the recording nano-rod films.
Through the nanoparticles, the researchers were able to record data at different wavelengths depending on the colour spectrum but still located on the same physical disc. This does away with the limitation of traditional media wherein data is recorded only in a single colour wavelength.
By manipulating the polarisation of the nanoparticles, the scientists were able to vary the ability to absorb incoming laser light and record different layers of information at different angles. This change in angles and the five dimensions achieved gives the technique its name 5-D recording. This is also the first time that researchers have been able to use both polarisation and colour wavelength simultaneously for data recording, creating extremely high data density.
While the experiment used 10-layer stacks of thin glass plates, researchers are confident that when scaled to a DVD-sized disk, the recording capacity of the disk would be about 1.6 terabytes. If the spacer layers are further slimmed, and more than two polarisation angles are utilised, the researchers found that this capacity could go beyond an unbelievable 10 terabytes per disc.
As the recording method in this technique is the same as in CDs and DVDs, and each piece of information is read sequentially, the possibility of the technique becoming commercially viable is extremely high. An additional benefit would be the easy integration of the technology with existing methods.
The team is presently working with Samsung for the development of a drive that can write and read data onto a disc created with this technology. Talking about the cost of creating the disc, co-author of the research Dr. James Chon informed that it would be less than $0.05. But if they migrate to silver nano-rods, which bear the same quality as gold ones, the cost could be reduced further by a factor of 100.
Could this be the future of optical storage media and data storage as a whole?
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