Data storage: ‘5D’ method could hold equivalent of 10,000 Blu-Ray discs

A complicated model of the know-how used to create DVDs and Blu-rays can retailer much more knowledge, although it takes some time


28 October 2021

Glass square

A 1-inch sq. of glass can retailer 6 gigabytes of information

Yuhao Lei and Peter G. Kazansky, College of Southampton

A brand new methodology of writing knowledge onto glass utilizing lasers might retailer 500 terabytes on a single optical disc – nevertheless it takes so lengthy to create that its purposes could also be restricted.

The approach makes use of related know-how to current optical media, however can retailer 10,000 occasions extra knowledge than Blu-ray discs. It entails a laser that sends out pulses each femtosecond – 1 quadrillionth of a second – to etch minute holes into glass.

Yuhao Lei on the College of Southampton, UK, and his colleagues name the strategy five-dimensional (5D) optical knowledge storage as a result of it makes use of two optical dimensions, primarily based on the polarisation and depth of sunshine, together with the same old three spatial dimensions, to report knowledge.

In checks, the researchers managed to put in writing 6 gigabytes of information onto a 1-inch sq. of glass. They might learn the information again with between 96.3 and 99.5 per cent accuracy, which may very well be improved to 100 per cent with an error correction algorithm, says Lei.

“The main problem for us is writing pace,” he says, as they may solely write 225 kilobytes a second, that means the 6 gigabytes took round 6 hours. “We’re not at present doing parallel writing [where multiple laser beams write onto the material]. We’re engaged on bettering that.”

“This knowledge storage could be very sturdy and might stand up to excessive temperatures, which suggests it will probably dwell nearly endlessly,” says staff member Peter Kazansky on the College of Southampton.

With small tweaks, the writing pace might grow to be 4 occasions sooner, says Kazansky – although he isn’t but certain whether or not that might materially enhance the possibility of errors. The intention is to supply a storage methodology for nationwide archives, says Lei.

“It’s nice to see the apparently huge enhancements which were made within the write speeds and basic efficiency of this storage know-how in a lab atmosphere in just some years” says Ben Fino-Radin of Small Information Industries, a New York archiving agency, pointing to a 75 occasions enchancment over an earlier model of the approach that might solely write at 3 kilobytes per second in 2017. “What stays unclear is what sensible position 5D glass storage might hypothetically play sooner or later.”

Journal reference: Optica, DOI: 10.1364/OPTICA.433765

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