Scientists in Australia have figured out a way to cram a petabyte onto a single optical disk, similar to a DVD or Blu-Ray. That’s right a disk like one of those old DVDs gathering dust under your TV could soon hold more than 10.6 years of compressed high definition video or over 50,000 HD movies.
One of the main challenges that the scientists had to over come was something called Abbe’s Limit, the premise of which is that the wavelength of light will determine its width. Basically disk writers couldn’t make the little impressions that represent the data on the disk much smaller because the wavelengths required meant that they were constrained by their width. This has hindered the development of really high capacity optical disks until these clever chaps came along.
They came up with the idea to ‘wrap’ their beam in another beam. The beams are structured to cancel each other out, leaving a little bit left in the middle which would be able to write to the disks. This research has a huge range of practical applications, only a few of which the scientists mention in their article on The Conversation.
“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.”