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New Technology Allows for ITB of Data on Disc

15 Apr, 2009 By: Chris Tribbey

You know how excited everyone got about the 50GB storage capacity of a Blu-ray Disc?

What could the studios do with 20 times that capacity?

“This is not a pipe dream,” said Craig J. Hawker, director of the Materials Research Lab at the University of California, Santa Barbara, and a chemistry professor. “We’re improving on existing technology, building on what’s already there.”

Hawker’s team has developed a new technology meant for holographic data, allowing for a full terabyte (1,000 gigabytes) to be stored on one side of one disc. The chemistry involved is called macromolecular synthesis, meaning data can now be written into the deeper layers of a disc.

“It’s always been a two-dimensional process for CDs and DVDs, where we’re only dealing with the surface of the disc,” Hawker said. “This is a third dimension. We’re not at the consumer point yet, but if you could store 10, 20 times the information in one place, the entertainment opportunities are enormous.”

The current process of recording data to a disc distorts the physical material on the disc, putting a limit on the amount of data that can be written. The new procedure stores data “a page at a time in three dimensions,” according to Hawker’s research, passing up the bit-by-bit strategy of today’s recordable methods, by minimizing the distortion created by the red laser for DVD and the blue-violet laser used for Blu-ray.

Holograms and 3-D films would be obvious home entertainment ideas for the new discs, but Hawker sees other commercial uses for the data storage technique, as well as ideas that haven’t been thought up yet.

“There are things you and I haven’t even thought about yet that I’m sure DreamWorks would absolutely love to do with this,” he said.

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