5D optical data storage paves the way for 10,000x greater capacity than Blu-ray

·1-min read
Researchers have developed a new, fast and energy-efficient laser writing method for producing high-density nanostructures in silica glass.

Researchers at the UK's University of Southampton are working on a five-dimensional optical data storage medium that could hold the equivalent of 10,000 times more data than a single Blu-ray disc.

According to a study published via Optica , a team of researchers, led by Peter G. Kazansky, has developed a high-speed laser writing method that can store some 500 terabytes of data on a glass disc the size of a CD. This 500 TB of data is equivalent to 500,000 GB, or the content of 10,000 Blu-ray discs.

This laser writing method produces very high density nanostructures in silica glass. These tiny structures then serve as data storage in five dimensions (5D) -- two optical dimensions and three spatial dimensions -- offering data storage that is more than 10,000 times denser than a regular Blu-ray disc.

This system for 5D data storage in glass could be particularly useful for longer-term data storage for national archives, museums, libraries or various private organizations. With this kind of storage capacity, it is even possible to compile all the data on an individual's DNA on a single storage medium. As things stand, it would take 60 days to write 500 TB of data!

The researchers are now working to increase the writing speed of their method and, above all, to make this technology usable outside their laboratory one day.

David Bénard

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