Sunday, May 3, 2009

500 GB on a DVD-sized disk! That’s what growing exponentially is!

WoW!!! That was the first words that sailed though my brain when i Capture_005first heard of it. Not because i was finding a solution to store my   collection of movies on, or making a backup of my system, instead it was because i was happy that the world had found seen something that actually was witnessing EXPONENTIAL growth over the years. optical storage media! Not many months had passed with the Blu-Ray coming into the reach of common people, and here we see another development in the storage media sector.

General Electric or GE has demoed an optical disc which can up to 500GB of data and possibly even more. The new disc has the same size as conventional DVDs, but it can hold the equivalent of 100 DVD discs or 20 single-layer Blu-ray discs. The micro-holographic disc developed by GE represents the next-gen in optical storage, however, the company says that their discs will soon be entering the market and users will use players similar to DVD or Blu-ray disc players.

GE experts are using holographic techniques to store data in a 3D format rather than the conventional methods of storing data into layers. Conventionally, the data is written in the form of Ones or Zeroes embedded on the layers. The telegraph reads and writes data the same way like today’s discs do with data burnt and read using lasers. Lately mass storage has been possible using shorter and shorter wavelength lasers.

But this is something else. Abandoning the traditional ‘pits and Hvd_discgroove’ method data is burnt in a holographic way that is 3D volumetric patterns using chemical methods. These discs are made of special polycarbonate materials and the material changes its chemical composition when bombarded by a certain type of laser. These discs are read by optical drives very similar to those for reading BluRay discs having special kind of laser. The company claims that these optical drives can be made compatible to read CDs , DVDs and BluRays.

A pair of laser beams is used to write data into discs of light-sensitive plastic, with both aiming at the same spot. One beam shines continuously, while the other pulses on and off to encode patches that represent digital 0s and 1s.

Gloss PNGKKMenu_3D At the points where the lasers meet, the intense light causes molecules in the disc's material to merge into chains, creating a physical pattern that locks the 0s and 1s into the disc. This pattern can be read back at a later date using another laser because the changed patches interact differently with light.

However, in the plastic normally used for holographic data storage, the s tructural changes caused by the laser also cause the material to shrink. Even though the volume change is tiny - around 0.23% - the distortion is enough to make reading the data from the disc tricky and means that the 1s and 0s can't be burned at the highest densities.

This also suggests that the disk without any protective covering, will be extremely prone to data loss due to minor scratches also.

Watch this video to understand how they developed something with such high storage capacities!

As they are determined to develop a disk with storing capabilities over 1TB, you never know when it lands in your palms, it might have already crossed the 1 Tibs bar.