December 14, 2017

Report: New Data Storage Method Capable of Storing a Million Times More Data Than DVDs

From Imperial College London (UK):

To date, optical storage media, such as DVD or BluRay, lag significantly behind in capacity compared with hard drives, flash memory and other solid state drives. However, storing a higher density of data using light cannot be accomplished due to restrictions imposed by the so-called “diffraction limit”.

This term refers to a physical phenomenon – the inability to focus a beam on the surface of objects whose size is smaller than the wavelength of the light (about 400 nm in the case of BluRay). For this reason, the density of recording information on all optical storage media is noticeably inferior to what is possible in magnetic or electronic data recording systems.

Now, researchers have found a way around this limitation and have managed to increase the recording density to hundreds of terabytes per square inch, using two things – organic dyes based on azobenzene, and a special light antenna. The researchers found that shining a laser on azobenzene molecules in an electric field causes them to flip. This creates a change in the optical properties of the dye molecules allowing them to act as information carriers. In this way the researchers can use azobenzene films to create optical memory which “violates” the diffraction limit.

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Gary Price About Gary Price

Gary Price (gprice@mediasourceinc.com) is a librarian, writer, consultant, and frequent conference speaker based in the Washington D.C. metro area. Before launching INFOdocket, Price and Shirl Kennedy were the founders and senior editors at ResourceShelf and DocuTicker for 10 years. From 2006-2009 he was Director of Online Information Services at Ask.com, and is currently a contributing editor at Search Engine Land.

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