Five dimensional DVD technology offers 2,000 movies on a single disc

By Calvin Palmer

A team of researchers at an Australian university have developed a new DVD technology that would allow more than 2,000 movies on a single disc.

Researchers at the Swinburne University of Technology, in Melbourne, have used nanotechnology to boost the storage potential nearly 10,000-fold compared to standard DVDs, according to a study published in the journal Nature.

The technique had allowed researchers to store 1.6 terabytes of data on a disc with the potential to one day store upto 10 terabytes.

One terabyte would be enough to hold 300 feature length films or 250,000 songs.

“We were able to show how nanostructured material can be incorporated on to a disc in order to increase data capacity, without increasing the physical size of the disc,” said Min Gu, who led the team.

Discs currently have three spatial dimensions. By using gold nanorods Gu and his team were able to add two additional dimensions, one based on the color spectrum, and the other on polarization.

Because nanoparticles react to light depending on their shape, it was possible to record information in a range of different color’s wavelengths at the same physical location on the disc.

Current DVDs record in a single color wavelength using a laser.

The fifth dimension was made possible by polarization. When light waves were projected on to the disc, the direction of the electric field within the waves aligned with the gold nanorods.

“The polarization can be rotated 360 degrees,” explained co-author James Chon. “We were, for example, able to record at zero degree polarization. Then on top of that, were able to record another layer of information at 90 degrees polarization, without them interfering with each other.”

The researchers are still working out the speed at which the discs can be written on, and say that commercial production is at least five years off.

They have signed an agreement with Korean electronics giant Samsung.

[Based on reports by the Melbourne Herald Sun and Reuters.]

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