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Researchers create 1.6TB optical disc

Researchers create 1.6TB optical disc

The new discs - which use multiple polarisation layers along with a spectral dimension - could hold up to 10TB.

While holography might be the next big thing in optical storage, there are at least some researchers who believe that nanoparticles might hold the answer to future ultra-high-definition video storage requirements.

As reported over on Electronista, researchers at Australia's Swinburne – no relation – University of Technology are working on a new optical disc technology capable of storing at least 1.6TB of data – with the possibility that the technology could scale to 10TB per disc.

By adding nanoparticles along with a polarisation dimension to the optical medium, the team vastly increased the amount of data that can be stored on a standard-sized disc – up from the 50GB currently available on a Blu-ray disc.

Researcher Min Gu explained that the “nanostructured material can be incorporated onto a disc in order to increase data capacity, without increasing the physical size of the disc.

The key to the increased capacity is due to the number of dimensions available: where a standard optical disc has just the standard spatial dimensions to play with, the team's new format adds a spectral dimension along with multiple polarisation layers to bring. It is this technique – which uses gold nanorods along with projected lightwaves to record the colour and polarisation layers – which gives the discs their impressive storage capacity.

Sadly, the technology is still some way away from commercialisation. The team admit that writing to the new format is painfully slow, requiring several different steps to record in the new dimensions. Despite this, the technology is already getting some interested glances from experts in fields including medical, military, and financial.

Indeed, Samsung has registered an early interest and will be producing discs and drives – although no timescale has yet been announced.

Does 10TB on a DVD-sized disc fill you with joy, or are you having difficulty imaging what you would do with all that space? Share your thoughts over in the forums.

21 Comments

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oasked 21st May 2009, 12:59 Quote
Does anyone care? Researchers have been creating discs which can store hundreds of Gigabytes for years - none of them have ever made it to be commercial products though.

Even Blu-Ray doesn't really have commercial success yet, especially when it comes to burning them at home / at the office.
alpaca 21st May 2009, 12:59 Quote
backing up the whole pc on a single disk... awesome. and the brilliant part is, i could back up 5 times on that same little disk.
decromin 21st May 2009, 13:23 Quote
CD, DVD, Bluray ... they all had difficult times early in their adoption cycles ... that is nothing new. This may or may not become a new standard, but I'd wager a good few quid on some of the tech involved being used in the not too distant future.
Paradigm Shifter 21st May 2009, 13:37 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by oasked
Even Blu-Ray doesn't really have commercial success yet, especially when it comes to burning them at home / at the office.

Mostly due to cost.

Blu-ray writers are dropping in price far quicker than CD- or DVD-writers did when they were first released, but the cost of the discs is still prohibitive for a large-scale backup solution - I'm discounting server-level tape backup mechanisms in this and focussing on the home user. Blu-ray will gather wider adoption as a user storage medium when the discs drop well below £1 a piece. Until that point, Blu-ray isn't really a feasible backup system (especially for those people who are really in need of that amount of optical capacity) because it costs a lot more to buy enough Blu-ray discs to back up a 1TB HDD than a new 1TB HDD costs. The cheapest 25GB Blu-ray media is over £4... the next cheapest is more than £6.50. That's £80 to back up if using 25GB Blu-ray... not including the cost of the drive, time taken in backup, swapping discs etc. The 50GB discs are £17.50 each (a whopping £350 to back up 1TB!) but they do cut down disc swaps. Regardless of that, though, the write speeds are appalling - the idea of writing 1TB of data to Blu-ray makes me wince.

Capacity is half the struggle, true... but write speeds need to go up a lot if optical media is to become again the functional backup medium it was when CD-writers first appeared. At that point, home users really had a couple of options - buy another HDD (which were quite pricy then) or use floppy discs with their inherent problems if they wanted to back stuff up.

...

10TB on a disc sounds impressive now... but by the time that 10TB on a disc is realised - if ever - more traditional magnetic storage media will probably hold a lot more than that. And if flash drives can get the prices down, they likely will as well.
Jordan Wise 21st May 2009, 13:49 Quote
who bothers backing up with discs? isn't raid 1 just a hell of a lot easier?
docodine 21st May 2009, 14:00 Quote
Not when disks cost a few dollars compared with doubling your cost for RAID 1.
Dreaming 21st May 2009, 14:01 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jordan Wise
who bothers backing up with discs? isn't raid 1 just a hell of a lot easier?

raid 1 is redundancy, not backup. if you:
- accidentally delete
- corrupt data
- explode your computer :D
- etc.

then the data will be forever lost. redundancy is supposed to be there not to keep data safe necessarily, but to keep it online which is especially important if its an important machine (say a fileserver for a small design business that holds all the logos and stuff they are doing, if it goes down and they have to restore from backup it could be a day or two lost for the whole business - with redundancy they can keep working whilst the disk is replaced in the background).
BioSniper 21st May 2009, 14:02 Quote
Raid 1 is not backup as it is prone to mechanical failure and simply mirrors the existing data and cannot be used as a disaster recovery (someone deleted your holiday photos type disaster).
SANS and tape backup are much more likley in a data centre environment with most home users using optical because its easy and cheapish.
yakyb 21st May 2009, 14:04 Quote
like with all things this will be a while coming i wont get excited about it until it starts to ship affordably
mwvirk 21st May 2009, 16:10 Quote
after HD_DVD failure, i remember i read somewhere (may be afterdawn.com) that china is working on to improve capicity of current used dvd's which can hold data and work same like HD-DVD. and if I'm not wrong then name of this dvd will be 'ccdvd' may be.

ok... i got it:

CBHD - (synonyms: China Blue High-Definition Disc,CH-DVD,China High Definition DVD) established the China High Definition DVD Industry Association (CHDA)


if there is no problem for adding html links then read this:
http://www.afterdawn.com/glossary/terms/cbhd.cfm
B3CK 21st May 2009, 16:42 Quote
Even if they do get write speeds up, and cost down, How long will the medium last? Will it have a protective enclosure as the (failed) mini-disc had? That much data, just exposed as current bluray or dvd media not only scares me but sorta enrages me at the same time. With the war over media licensing going strong, all I need is to get a few more discs scratched up.

Although, even if the write speeds don't go up to huge speeds, I would still use it to back up all my media at the house. Because throwing one or two optical discs in the fire safe is alot easier and less space consuming than throwing 2-4 HD's in the safe. (currently at 1.5T with three 750gb drives in raid5).
Turbotab 21st May 2009, 17:25 Quote
Bindi, you have your own uni, impressive:)
perplekks45 21st May 2009, 18:49 Quote
I'll never get anything with my name on it unless I'll do something great. Well, seems like that's the way to go.

Other than that, I think Paradigm was right: It will be outdated size-wise by the time it'll be released though we might see part of the technology behind it making it to the mass market, either consumer or business, in the next couple of years.
Star*Dagger 21st May 2009, 19:28 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Turbotab
Bindi, you have your own uni, impressive:)

This wins thread.
HourBeforeDawn 21st May 2009, 20:15 Quote
ya but I want a disc that will last more then 5 years average, if it could last for at least 10 years before degrading then maybe I would consider backing up that much data onto a disc.
Burnout21 21st May 2009, 23:10 Quote
All that data on a removable disc, na i cant see the point unless its storing non compression media.

However even with SSD prices shifting and capacity's rising, this might bring new life for the old mechanical drive.

I would bet this technology could be used to create a 30Tb 3.5in HDD, and then use current SSD technology as a write buffer, so 64GB buffer to help with the current slow pace of writing to the platters.

now this is where i think the tech will go.
HourBeforeDawn 22nd May 2009, 05:57 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Burnout21
All that data on a removable disc, na i cant see the point unless its storing non compression media.

However even with SSD prices shifting and capacity's rising, this might bring new life for the old mechanical drive.

I would bet this technology could be used to create a 30Tb 3.5in HDD, and then use current SSD technology as a write buffer, so 64GB buffer to help with the current slow pace of writing to the platters.

now this is where i think the tech will go.

optical disc not a hard drive platter big difference between the two and how they function.
Paradigm Shifter 22nd May 2009, 11:00 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by HourBeforeDawn
ya but I want a disc that will last more then 5 years average, if it could last for at least 10 years before degrading then maybe I would consider backing up that much data onto a disc.

This is true. The dye goes off quite fast. :(

That said, I've got a bunch of Kodak Gold CD-Rs that I burnt backups on to back in 1999... they still read OK. I just checked one out of interest. Copied all the data off without error and opened a few old Word files and pictures. That said, there is nothing on the disc that I'd be worried about if I lost. Don't think I've even looked at them in the last six years.

It's actually quite depressing that I backed up all vital files on my HDD on a single CD back then...
NethLyn 25th May 2009, 08:33 Quote
Kodak Gold Ultima? Wow the memories :-) I used mine for music not data, keep them in the box and chances are they'll give you the 30 projected years they were rated for, in my personal case they've already lasted 10 without even a scratch.

There have been a number of stories like these in the media recently , trumpeting 300, then 3000, then 10000 films on a single DVD (with no reference to picture quality of course). What will never be invented is an optical disc that you could keep in its plastic spindle hopper instead of a rigid plastic case, on the side of the house that gets the hottest/magnified sun and the coldest winter draughts, where you don't vacuum often enough and your pets and children run wild, and still not have to clean the dust from the data side of a burned disc (properly, not with your sleeve) every time you use it.

Out of 100 DVD+/-RWs I've bought for my recorder in two years, less than 10 -/+Rs and RWs combined have died off and that was with some extreme scratching and dust contamination of the data side. So despite every new generation of optical disc seeming weaker than the other, they can still take a lot before they're permanently corrupted.

On the other hand DVD-RAM without the caddy was the single stupidest invention Panasonic came up with as well as they were even more sensitive to real-world conditions and failed en masse for me, but thank heavens I only bought 20 before seeing the light and sticking with the established DVD formats.
Pookeyhead 25th May 2009, 09:02 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by alpaca
backing up the whole pc on a single disk... awesome. .



...loosing that disk.. priceless :)
Xtreme_Machine 25th May 2009, 09:20 Quote
I can't help but wonder how safe your data would be. I mean, if data is that dense, one speck of dust or a scratch could cost you multiple gigabytes :P

On the other hand, there is way more room for error correction.
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