Researchers Find Way to Put 1.6 TB on a DVD

With hard drives hitting 2 TB, our dual-layer DVD burners are starting to look mighty limited. While Blu-ray Disc burners will be making their way into high-end computers soon, it won’t be long until even 50 GB seems puny.

Researchers from Melbourne's Swinburne University of Technology claims to have developed an optical recording technique that it says can place a a theoretical 1.6 TB on a DVD-sized disc. This is done by adding extra dimensions to the recording surface.

To be precise, the extra dimensions are the wavelength and polarization of light, which integrate with the familiar three spatial dimensions creates true five-dimensional recording within one volume.

According to the journal article from Nature, “The new system makes use of surface plasmon resonance (SPR)-mediated photothermal reshaping of a substrate of gold nanorods immersed in a polymer layer. Crosstalk-free readout is via two-photon luminescence. Immediate applications can be found in security patterning and multiplexed optical storage.”

According to a BBC report, the Australian research team is now working with Samsung to develop a drive that can both read and write using the new method.

“The optical system to record and read 5-D is very similar to the current DVD system,” says James Chon, a co-author on the research. “Therefore, industrial scale production of the compact system is possible.”

All-new equipment is needed to manufacture discs on the new format, which is a barrier for the technology’s adoption. The researchers cite the eventual industry investment into the switch Blu-ray Disc as an example of how their technology could someday be crowned the next optical format.

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