Feeds

Scientists devise 260GB CD-size glass disc storage tech

Make light work of archiving

The Essential Guide to IT Transformation

Superman's "memory crystals" have flown out of the realm of fiction into fact now that boffins have found a way to store 50GB of data in a disc of glass no bigger than the screen of a basic mobile phone.

The memory is highly durable. It is able to survive heat of up to 1000° C and is resistant to the knocks and bumps that would do for a hard drive.

Researchers from the University of Southampton use a powerful laser to etch "nanostructures" into a thin sheet of glass.

Optical Vortex

Each nanostructure is a cube roughly one micron in size and consists of platelets about 10nm in thickness which are separated by 100-200nm of space, Professor Peter Kazansky and Martynas Beresna told Reg Hardware.

When polarised light is passed through the structure, characteristics such as its radial and azimuthal polarisation - essentially, the angles at which the light wave oscillates - change.

The data is read by measuring degrees to which the output light differs from the light entering the storage structure.

Each characteristic encodes a different data set, so it's possible to store multiple data sets in the same structure. Enough to hold 260GB on a disc the size of a regular CD, the boffins told me. This data can be erased and rewritten with the laser too.

Ultrafast optical recording via self-assembled nanograting induced birefringence in fused silica.

Maxwell and Newton are recorded in one image (left, in pseudo colors). They can be easily decoupled as Maxwell (center) is recorded in strength of retardance and Newton in azimuth of the slow axis (right). Each image's actual Size is 1.5 × 2mm

Decoding the light that has passed through the cell is tricky, though, and the team says much of the work going forward will attempt to simplify the system sufficiently enough to enable it to be commercially viable to produce.

The team is part of an EU project called Femtoprint, which is committed to building a shoebox-sized machine able to 'print' data in glass and which anyone can use.

For more information, get your head around the wordy paper, Radially polarized optical vortex converter created by femtosecond laser nanostructuring of glass. Don't say I didn't warn you. ®

Build a business case: developing custom apps

More from The Register

next story
4K video on terrestrial TV? Not if the WRC shares frequencies to mobiles
Have your say with Ofcom now, before Freeview becomes Feeview
iPad? More like iFAD: We reveal why Apple fell into IBM's arms
But never fear fanbois, you're still lapping up iPhones, Macs
Sonos AXES support for Apple's iOS4 and 5
Want to use your iThing? You can't - it's too old
You didn't get the MeMO? Asus Pad 7 Android tab is ... not bad
Really, er, stands out among cheapie 7-inchers
Apple winks at parents: C'mon, get your kid a tweaked Macbook Pro
Cheapest models given new processors, more RAM
Leaked Windows Phone 8.1 Update specs tease details of Nokia's next mobes
New screen sizes, dual SIMs, voice over LTE, and more
Nintend-OH NO! Sorry, Mario – your profits are in another castle
Red-hatted mascot, red-colored logo, red-stained finance books
prev story

Whitepapers

Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Boost IT visibility and business value
How building a great service catalog relieves pressure points and demonstrates the value of IT service management.
Why and how to choose the right cloud vendor
The benefits of cloud-based storage in your processes. Eliminate onsite, disk-based backup and archiving in favor of cloud-based data protection.
The Essential Guide to IT Transformation
ServiceNow discusses three IT transformations that can help CIO's automate IT services to transform IT and the enterprise.
Maximize storage efficiency across the enterprise
The HP StoreOnce backup solution offers highly flexible, centrally managed, and highly efficient data protection for any enterprise.