Scientists up DVD storage to 1,000 TERABYTES - 10.6 YEARS of HD video! - High-Def Digest Forums
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Old 06-21-2013, 09:16 AM
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Default Scientists up DVD storage to 1,000 TERABYTES - 10.6 YEARS of HD video!

This is a hell of an advance in technology and should be interesting.

We live in a world where digital information is exploding. Some 90% of the world’s data was generated in the past two years. The obvious question is: how can we store it all?

In Nature Communications today, we, along with Richard Evans from CSIRO, show how we developed a new technique to enable the data capacity of a single DVD to increase from 4.7 gigabytes up to one petabyte (1,000 terabytes). This is equivalent of 10.6 years of compressed high-definition video or 50,000 full high-definition movies.

So how did we manage to achieve such a huge boost in data storage? First, we need to understand how data is stored on optical discs such as CDs and DVDs.

The basics of digital storage

Although optical discs are used to carry software, films, games, and private data, and have great advantages over other recording media in terms of cost, longevity and reliability, their low data storage capacity is their major limiting factor.

The operation of optical data storage is rather simple. When you burn a CD, for example, the information is transformed to strings of binary digits (0s and 1s, also called bits). Each bit is then laser “burned” into the disc, using a single beam of light, in the form of dots.

The storage capacity of optical discs is mainly limited by the physical dimensions of the dots. But as there’s a limit to the size of the disc as well as the size of the dots, many current methods of data storage, such as DVDs and Blu-ray discs, continue to have low level storage density.

To get around this, we had to look at light’s fundamental laws.

Circumnavigating Abbe’s limit

In 1873, German physicist Ernst Abbe published a law that limits the width of light beams.

On the basis of this law, the diameter of a spot of light, obtained by focusing a light beam through a lens, cannot be smaller than half its wavelength – around 500 nanometres (500 billionths of a metre) for visible light.

And while this law plays a huge role in modern optical microscopy, it also sets up a barrier for any efforts from researchers to produce extremely small dots – in the nanometre region – to use as binary bits.

In our study, we showed how to break this fundamental limit by using a two-light-beam method, with different colours, for recording onto discs instead of the conventional single-light-beam method.

Both beams must abide by Abbe’s law, so they cannot produce smaller dots individually. But we gave the two beams different functions:

The first beam (red, in the figure right) has a round shape, and is used to activate the recording. We called it the writing beam
The second beam – the purple donut-shape – plays an anti-recording function, inhibiting the function of the writing beam
The two beams were then overlapped. As the second beam cancelled out the first in its donut ring, the recording process was tightly confined to the centre of the writing beam.

This new technique produces an effective focal spot of nine nanometres – or one ten thousandth the diameter of a human hair.

The technique, in practical terms

Our work will greatly impact the development of super-compact devices as well as nanoscience and nanotechnology research.

The exceptional penetration feature of light beams allow for 3D recording or fabrication, which can dramatically increase the data storage – the number of dots – on a single optical device.

The technique is also cost-effective and portable, as only conventional optical and laser elements are used, and allows for the development of optical data storage with long life and low energy consumption, which could be an ideal platform for a Big Data centre.

As the rate of information generated worldwide continues to accelerate, the aim of more storage capacity in compact devices will continue. Our breakthrough has put that target within our reach.
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Old 06-21-2013, 12:03 PM
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Guess those giant warehouses the government is building in the desert to store thousands of zettabytes are giant wastes of money... there's a shocker.

My entire collection on a single disc... why does that make me queasy?
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Old 06-21-2013, 08:24 PM
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The title is a bit misleading though - should be optical discs or something. That'd be the same as calling a blu ray a dvd because they're both the same physical size so a Blu Ray article would say "Scientists find way to make dvd hold 50GB." See my point?
The theory of 2 light beams certainly sounds plausible, I'm surprised nobody came up with that one.
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Old 06-21-2013, 09:21 PM
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The article claims it is for a DVD though...

"More data storage? Here’s how to fit 1,000 terabytes on a DVD..." I forgot to put the title.
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Old 06-25-2013, 10:44 AM
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I actually heard about this sort of thing some time ago. No idea where, but it seems to be discussing the same sort of technology.

Not something that will make its way into the average household, not for a couple reader/writer generations anyway....Probably.

But if it does make its way into homes sometime in the next 10 to 15 years, it could be the sort of boon to home computers that CD-roms gave. By then, the average computer would probably have what? 2 or 3 TB of storage internally? Likely this sort of technology will be scaled down to reduce cost and allow for less accurate devices (so lesser storage), but it could still give you something like 50 or more TB per disk. It would be like the leap from Floppy disk to CD.

Probably something of a pipe dream for the next 20 years though...
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Old 07-22-2013, 04:29 PM
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Originally Posted by Plissken99 View Post
Guess those giant warehouses the government is building in the desert to store thousands of zettabytes are giant wastes of money... there's a shocker.

My entire collection on a single disc... why does that make me queasy?
If the price is right... Mirror two discs!

I really look forward to this type of technology, or holographic discs coming to the market with 40+ TB on a single drive so that you can just buy a couple of drives and have a mirrored RAID that doesn't take up a ton of room.

I'm on my fourth RAID and sitting with over 20TB of storage and just lost one of them completely, so I have to rebuild that part of my BD collection. My own fault, but still not nearly as nice as if I could have just bought a couple of mass storage drives, or made a backup of all the drives onto a couple of discs.

Certainly this would be something new, not really 'DVD' - but something far different overall. I like that they are focused on keeping costs in check.
AV Integrated - Theater, whole house audio, and technology consultation during the build and installation process in the Washington DC, Northern VA, and MD area.
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