1,000-terabyte DVD Possible in the Near Future

An Australian team of researchers has found a revolutionary way to fit 1000TB into traditional optical storage devices like CDs and DVDs. Led by Dr. Zongsong Gan from the Swinburne University of Technology in Melbourne, the team broke a physical barrier known as the diffraction limit of light by using two light beams with different abilities.

Before the Australian team’s discovery, it was believed that light’s diffraction limit prevents it from being split smaller than 500 nanometers across. This limitation has, in turn, dictated how many bits of information can be written on optical devices. Dr. Gan and his colleagues were able to pare down that number to 9 nanometers across (or 1/10,000th the diameter of a human hair) using their two light beams; exponentially increasing the usual storage capacity of DVDs, for example, from 4.07GB to 1000TB. To better illustrate this huge jump in capacity, just imagine that this 1000TB-disk can now store up to 50,000 movies rendered in high-definition.

This groundbreaking research can revolutionize information storage not just on the disk level but to scaled-up platforms as well, like big data centers.

Dr. Gan and his team were recently awarded an $18,000 fellowship to continue their work. They plan to use the grant to tour industry and research organizations in the US, Germany, and China that are also studying high-capacity photonic information technologies.

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