New life for DVD and Blu-Ray optical discs: they can store terabytes of data

New life for DVD and Blu-Ray optical discs: they can store terabytes of data

The traditions optical discs they seemed to be on the decline for some time now. How many years have there been desktop and notebook systems equipped with a reader on the market? DVD/Blu-Ray? Many. And Blu-Ray media is the litmus test of a market at the end of the line: until some time ago there was talk of the possible successor HVD (Holographic Versatile Disc) but the market and the bankruptcy of the company behind the project ruined what could have become a new optical disc with capacity pari a 6 Terabyte.

Now a group of researchers from the University of Shanghai say they are convinced that there are concrete possibilities for resurrecting optical discs, thanks to a new technology storage of the data it processes in 3D rather than limiting itself to just two dimensions. The result is that, as demonstrated by the study published on Naturethe storage capacity becomes “the fleet will ask“, representing a huge leap forward compared to everything we know.

Optical disks with near-infinite capacity: 1.6 petabits on a single medium with AIE-DDPR technology

According to project leader Professor Min Gu and his colleagues, the innovative approach arose from the need to address problems associated with traditional storage technologies, such as flash memory and hard disks, used in data centers. Among the problems with which it is necessary to deal, it is possible to include high energy consumption, increasing operating costs and the limited lifespan of the storage devices usually used.

AIE-DDPR is the key to the newly revealed optical storage system: it is an innovative material that required 10 years of development and which responds to different wavelengths of light, allowing researchers to use green, red, blue and orange lasers to write and read data on layers separated by just 1 micrometer.

The result was extraordinary: the researchers managed to record images on optical media size of a DVD up to 1.6 petabits, equivalent to 200 Terabytes of data, using 100 layers. Technology also offers the perspective of a large-scale productionas the “writable disc” production process using AIE-DDPR film, is compatible with traditional DVD production and can be completed in just 6 minutes, opening the door to commercial development.

A product not far from large-scale production and marketing

The data is now recorded, with AIE-DDPR technology, using points just wide 54 nanometers, about one-tenth the size of the wavelengths of visible light used to read and write data. The ability to 1.6 million gigabits just achieved represents approximately 4,000 times the data density of a Blu-Ray disc and 24 times that of the currently most advanced hard disks.

The scholars suggest that their new optical disc could allow for store an exabit of datathat is, a billion gigabits, inside a room rather than in a space the size of a stadium.

The managers of the “company” added that in the future they will focus on increasing the writing speed and on energy efficiency, through the use of new materials. Furthermore, it is expected to increase the number of layers of the disc by reducing aberrations in the optical system. The aberrations refer to deviations or distortions of the optimal correction that an optical system should have. When we talk about an optical system without aberrations, we are referring to a system in which the light that passes through or is reflected by lenses or other optical elements is focused precisely and without unwanted distortions.

In the case of 3D optical disc recording technology, reducing optical aberrations could mean improving the precision with which i laser they are addressed to write and read data on each of the thin layers of the storage medium.

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