Just before the weekend I read about a new technique which can be used to shoehorn around 1,000TB of data onto a “DVD disc”. This is quite a feat and it was achieved by circumnavigating some laws of physics with a technique which uses two different coloured light beams to selectively cancel each other out and produce a much finer beam – required for such a huge increase in data density.
Optical discs have their positive aspects, such as being cheap to produce as well as longevity and robustness but they are falling out of favour compared to other ways to back up or share data. Once thought of as an essential computer component, many people are now buying laptops that don’t include an optical disc reader or writer.
The storage capacity of a standard 12cm optical disc is limited by how small the pits burnt into its surface by a laser can be, itself limited by the diameter of the light beam doing the “burning” and the reading. The upgrade from DVD to Blu-ray was down to a finer laser beam and new media which could be “burnt” by that light beam.
In Physics, Abbe’s Law states that the width of light beams which can be“obtained by focussing the light through a lens, cannot be smaller than half its wavelength”. This means a visible light beam cannot be smaller than 500nm reports Phys.org. Using an optical two beam system comprised of a “writing beam” and an “inhibitor beam” it is possible to circumvent Abbe’s Law to create a practical laser beam that is less than 100nm in diameter, as shown in the diagram below. Phys.org says the scientists managed to achieve a laser of diameter significantly below 100nm; “This new technique produces an effective focal spot of nine nanometres – or one ten thousandth the diameter of a human hair”.
The diagram shows that the two beams are of different shapes and their overlaps cancel out to leave a much smaller focussed central light beam. Recording on the optical disc is “tightly confined to the centre” of this resulting light beam. Using this very fine laser to record on a 12cm optical disc should be able to yield capacities in the region of 1,000TB of data. This is equivalent to “10.6 years of compressed high-definition video or 50,000 full high-definition movies”.
The scientists say this new laser technique is “cost-effective and portable, as only conventional optical and laser elements are used, and allows for the development of optical data storage with long life and low energy consumption”. I’m looking forward to seeing this technology used in the first real-world devices which should be in “Big Data centres”according to the researchers. …
Now that its bigger brother Blu-ray has stolen the spotlight, paltry 4.7 GB DVDs have slowly started to fade into obscurity. But could they be poised for a comeback? A trio of Chinese scientists have discovered a breakthrough process that could, at least in theory, allow a DVD to store a whopping 1,000 TB—or a full petabyte—of data …
You see, back in 1873, a German physicist named Ernst Abbe found that a beam of light focused through a lens could not be any smaller than half of the light’s wavelength. And for visible light, which is used to burn digital media discs, that’s around 500 nanometers. So instead of breaking that law, the researchers found a way to work around it using two beams of light that cancel each other out. And by ensuring the beams don’t completely overlap, a much smaller beam can be created to burn even smaller pits on a disc, massively increasing its capacity.
Now a researcher at Swinburne University of Technology in Melbourne, Australia, with a name fit for the deed, Dr. Zongsong Gan, has developed a new method to store 1,000 TB of data, or 50,000 high definition movies, onto a run-of-the-mill CD ROM disc or DVD disk.
Gan was recently awarded the 2014 Victoria Fellowship, which will help him bring his breakthrough to the mainstream.
The new process creates “bits” from light and breaks the “diffraction limit of light”, which is about 500 nm, by using two 500 nm light beams, one red and straight, one purple and doughnut shaped. The red beam is shone through the purple (doughnut) beam so that the resulting beam is much narrower and capable of writing bits to disk just 9 nm wide or 1/10,000 the width of a human hair.
Every day, humans are producing more data than ever before – around 90% of the world’s data was generated in the past two years alone – and there will come a point when our data storage centres and the cloud can no longer keep up.
But Dr Zongsong Gan, a researcher at Swinburne University of Technology in Melbourne, Australia, has found a revolutionary way we can fit a whole lot more data onto traditional optical storage devices, such as CDs, and is now using that technology to help data storage keep up with demand.
In 2013, Gan and his colleagues found out how to fit 1,000 terabytes (TB), or 50,000 high-definition movies, onto a DVD – an increase from the 4.07 gigabytes they’re currently capable of storing. And he’s now been awarded one of 12 Victoria Fellowships in 2014, which will help incorporate his research into practical, mass storage devices.
As of this writing July 2018, there is no Petabyte DVD available and the largest single hard drive seems to be 12 TB, namely the Seagate 12TB IronWolf NAS SATA 6Gb/s NCQ 256MB Cache 3.5-Inch Internal Hard Drive.
There is also a 2 TB thumb drive from Kingston that is real and there a bunch of fake 1 and 2 TB thumb drives for about $15 that don’t work which, for some unknown reason, Amazon allows. The cheap TB thumb drives are all scams. Your computer will say they transfered your files to them, but the files won’t actually be there when you check.
… hackers change a log file that makes the flash drive think it has more memory than it does. When you receive the drive, if you right click and go to properties it will display a larger amount of memory than it really has- so when you put data on it that exceeds it’s actual memory, old data will be deleted.
This problem is nearly impossibly for the average Joe to detect because the flash drive looks and works normally- until it’s memory is filled.