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They reinvent the CD by devising a method of fast writing to disks that could hold up to 500 TB

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It’s about what would be a quantum leap in data recording: a five-dimensional optical data storage technique.

Researchers at the University of Southampton (UK) have devised a potential method to achieve fast writing to storage disks that could hold up to 500 TB.

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The protagonist here is the unforgettable compact disc (CD) that we have known all our lives, but reinvented. Surely many here will remember the days when they recorded complete discographies of their favorite band or singer in compressed format, which at that time it was common to use a CD with a capacity of 700 MB.

According to a new recording method, the new disc would be worth about 700,000 of those CD’s that also saved so many memories of past decades. This would be the equivalent of 100 million songs to be listening to for a whole millennium.

What the team of researchers is actually proposing is a method to considerably improve typing speed.

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It’s about what would be a quantum leap in data logging: a five-dimensional (5D) optical data storage technique, low in high-density anistropic nanostructures in silica glass.

Making a comparison, the researchers are talking about a disc with a capacity equivalent to ten thousand of the DVDs that we knew in the mid-nineties where complete television series could already be recorded.

The magic of lasers, key in the storage method

According to the researchers, hard drives have the great disadvantage of using high power consumption and a short lifespan. What they propose is optical reading and writing as a solution, but different from what we know on CDs and DVDs.

Thanks to the advance in the use of femtosecond lasers, which operate at the quantum level using very short pulses, the space required to store information is significantly reduced. But not only that, at the same time it considerably increases the speed of writing and reading.

Due to the smaller point of incidence of the laser, this technology also avoids the thermal damage commonly caused in previous optical discs.

Thus, the Southampton team of researchers managed to write 5 GB in 50 layers, which translates into a speed of 225 kB / s. In other words, this means that more than 100 pages per second, for example, James Joyce’s “Ulysses” could be copied in less than ten seconds.

However, recording an entire album would take at least a couple of months. (I)

ee (Very Interesting / Optica Publishing Group)

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