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Romanian boffin touts 1PB holographic disk tech

Ceramic-glass objects for the millennia

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Another holographic hopeful has emerged, Storex Technologies, which claims its Hyper CD technology can produce a 1PB optical disk.

It was only a couple of years ago that Call/Recall was proposing a 1TB drive and GE was suggesting it could produce a 500GB unit last year. InPhase had to be rescued after its long-lived attempt to get a 300GB Tapestry drive into production failed. Now here comes Storex with a 1PB technology. Are these numbers plucked out of thin air?

Storex Technologies was founded by Romanian scientist Eugen Pavel in 2007 and is, in effect, a technology demonstration looking for a partner to productise its intellectual property. Pavel is a reputable scientist and we are told that he "has done extensive research in the field of fluorescent photosensitive glasses and glass-ceramics.

"The company holds patents on glass and glass-ceramics compositions as well as read/write mechanics and optics concept(s) applicable to high-density data storage. Using commercially available low power lasers and optics, capacities of more than 1,000,000 GB (1 PB) can be achieved using a CD size disk of 120mm in diameter and 1.2mm thick."

So it's more than a petabyte now.

The idea is based on the controlled fluorescence intensity of 40nm-sized signals being used to record information inside the virtual layers of a CD-sized fluorescent photosensitive glass, or glass-ceramic discs using laser diodes. The layers are said to be 700nm apart - we don't know how many layers there are. Data access is said to occur at DVD-like speed.

Storex claims a 5,000 year life for the disks. This is probably theoretically true but there is no product, no demonstrated and proven drive and no demonstrated and proven media, so you can consider this claim marketing hyperbole for now.

Pavel, Storex's CEO, was scheduled to present a paper on his Petabyte Optical Disc at the Optical Data Storage 2010 conference, but that slot is now labelled as cancelled.

This is all very early-stage stuff, and in an area littered with previous attempts to bring multi-hundred gigabyte holographic disks and drives to market. It hasn't happened yet but there are people, like the InPhase rescuers, and Pavel himself, who sincerely hold the holographic faith. Good luck to them. ®

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