Feeds

Scientists devise 260GB CD-size glass disc storage tech

Make light work of archiving

Boost IT visibility and business value

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. ®

The essential guide to IT transformation

More from The Register

next story
Top Gun display for your CAR: Heads-up fighter pilot tech
Sadly Navdy kit doesn't include Sidewinder missile to blast traffic
FEAST YOUR EYES: Samsung's Galaxy Alpha has an 'entirely new appearance'
Wow, it looks like nothing else on the market, for sure
YES YES YES! Apple patents mousy, pressure-sensing iVibrator
Fanbois prepare to experience the great Cupertin-O
TV transport tech, part 1: From server to sofa at the touch of a button
You won't believe how much goes into today's telly tech
NVIDIA claims first 64-bit ARMv8 SoC for Androids
Mile-High 'Denver' Tegra K1 successor said to rival PC performance
XBOX One will learn to play media from USB and DLNA sources
Hang on? Aren't those file formats you hardly ever see outside torrents?
Giving your old Tesco Hudl to Auntie June? READ THIS FIRST
You can never wipe supermarket slab clean enough
Intel admits: Broadwell Core M chip looking a bit thin, no fans found at all
Chipzilla's 'cool' 14nm part to hit market this year
prev story

Whitepapers

Endpoint data privacy in the cloud is easier than you think
Innovations in encryption and storage resolve issues of data privacy and key requirements for companies to look for in a solution.
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.
Top 8 considerations to enable and simplify mobility
In this whitepaper learn how to successfully add mobile capabilities simply and cost effectively.
Solving today's distributed Big Data backup challenges
Enable IT efficiency and allow a firm to access and reuse corporate information for competitive advantage, ultimately changing business outcomes.
Reg Reader Research: SaaS based Email and Office Productivity Tools
Read this Reg reader report which provides advice and guidance for SMBs towards the use of SaaS based email and Office productivity tools.