A physics professor and his graduate student at a Case Western Reserve University have recently launched a new company with the aim of making optical discs that are capable of holding between 1 and 2 terabytes of data.
Just to put this into perspective let's take a look at the current optical storage solutions:
• DVD (single-layer) 4.7GB
• DVD (dual-layer) 8.5GB
• Bluray (single-layer) 25GB
• Bluray (dual-layer) 50GB
• Bluray (future multi-layer capability) 100GB
In comparison what this means is that the new discs being developed are capable of holding the same as 50 commercial blu-ray discs, while maintaining the same form factor and functionality as a normal optical disc.
While this may not provide much use to the consumer market (at least not yet) it does offer a great storage solution for business. With system like data tapes still being used by small and medium sized businesses, which are still highly impractical in terms of recovering data. This new solution would be as simple as popping the disc in your drive much like any other disc.
“A disc will be on the capacity scale of magnetic tapes used for archival data storage. But, they will be substantially cheaper and have one advantage: you can access data faster. You just pop the disc in your computer and you can find the data in seconds. Tapes can take minutes to wind through to locate particular data,” said Kenneth Singer, the Ambrose Swasey professor of physics, and co-founder of Folio Photonics.
The company builds the disc using the same techniques used to create a regular dvd or blu-ray disc, but instead of cramming more data on the same surface they use as many as 64 layers to the disc to multiply their storage capabilities and say the only need to make slight adjustments to a standard disc reader to make it capable to read the new format. This means any commercial product should be quick and relatively cheap to manufacture and get to market.
"Other companies are looking into a holographic technology, which requires two lasers to write the data and will require a whole new writer/reader. Ours has the advantage of lower manufacturing costs and is more compatible with current readers and writers,” said Mr. Singer.
Folio Photonics (the company behind the discs) hope to have prototypes on show within a year.