Small Glass Discs Store Two Blu-rays Worth of Data
CREDIT: University of Southampton
Our insatiable lust for "Angry Birds" games and the latest iTunes hits means soaring demand for more digital storage space, but researchers are on the case. A British team has squeezed the equivalent of two Blu-ray movie discs into a glass disc as small as the screen on a no-frills mobile phone.
The compact memory can also withstand scorching hot temperatures of up to 1,832 degrees F (1,000 degrees C) and survive hard knocks that would destroy typical computer hard drives, according to The Register. It stores information based on tiny 3-D dots etched into the glass by lasers, so that the dots change the way that light passes through.
The new method "means that data can be stored on the glass and last forever," said Martynas Beresna, lead researcher for the project at the University of Southampton in the UK. "No one has ever done this before."
Each small glass disc holds about 50 gigabytes (GB) that would fill the two Blu-ray discs. A bigger glass disc the size of a regular CD can hold about 260 GB the equivalent of many hard drives in laptops.
A laser can simply erase and rewrite the stored memory in the glass. The effort is part of a bigger European Union projected called Femtoprint, which aims to create a shoebox-sized machine that can print data in glass.
But don't expect this to find use in any lab or commercial gadgets immediately. Researchers still need to figure out how to simplify the system and find a way to easily decode the light that passes through.