The Bottomless DVD


A new breakthrough could herald the 10-terabyte disc.

What is store in the five-dimensional storage system developed by an Australian research team takes traditional 2D storage and adds multiple layers, color coding, and polarization of the light. The storage medium is a network of gold nanorods.

Imagine storing 10,000 standard-definition movies on one disc. Sound impossible? Not to a team of Australian researchers. The team recently published a report in the journal Nature in which it details its development of a “five-dimensional” storage medium that promises to store up 10 terabytes on a single disc. Peter Zijlstra, James W.M. Chon, and Min Gu of the Swinburne University of Technology found a way to combine addressing data using wavelength, polarization, and three spatial dimensions, creating the so-called five dimensions of addressable space. The approach allows for a storage density of a terabit of information in just a cubic centimeter of space.

Mixing and matching different methods of addressing data has been tried using individual methods, the researchers said. In fact, writing data to a three-dimensional storage medium has been one of the hallmarks of holographic storage. But for fivedimensional storage, the team projected information into the material using different color wavelengths. Additional information was then added by polarizing the light, first at a fixed orientation and then by rotating the filter 90 degrees. Data was read using a technique called “longitudinal SPRmediated 2-photon luminescence.”

It’s difficult to say, however, how easily a solution like this might be moved into production, since the medium used to store the information is a network of gold nanorods. “The major hurdle is the lack of a suitable recording medium that is extremely selective in the domains of wavelength and polarization,” the researchers wrote in an abstract. Nonetheless, companies such as Samsung have already expressed interest. —Mark Hachman

Source of Information : PC Magazine July 2009

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