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. ®

Boost IT visibility and business value

More from The Register

next story
So, Apple won't sell cheap kit? Prepare the iOS garden wall WRECKING BALL
It can throw the low cost race if it looks to the cloud
Apple's iWatch? They cannae do it ... they don't have the POWER
Analyst predicts fanbois will have to wait until next year
AMD unveils 'single purpose' graphics card for PC gamers and NO ONE else
Chip maker claims the Radeon R9 285 is 'best in its class'
Barnes & Noble: Swallow a Samsung Nook tablet, please ... pretty please
Novelslab finally on sale with ($199 - $20) price tag
Apple to build WORLD'S BIGGEST iStore in Dubai
It's not the size of your shiny-shiny...
Just in case? Unverified 'supersize me' iPhone 6 pics in sneak leak peek
Is bigger necessarily better for the fruity firm's flagship phone?
Steve Jobs had BETTER BALLS than Atari, says Apple mouse designer
Xerox? Pff, not even in the same league as His Jobsiness
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.
5 things you didn’t know about cloud backup
IT departments are embracing cloud backup, but there’s a lot you need to know before choosing a service provider. Learn all the critical things you need to know.
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.
Top 8 considerations to enable and simplify mobility
In this whitepaper learn how to successfully add mobile capabilities simply and cost effectively.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?