New age DVD that can hold 2,000 movies

May 21st, 2009 - 7:47 pm ICT by IANS  

London, May 21 (IANS) A DVD that can store up to 2,000 films - equivalent to 300 DVDs in a single disk - can revolutionise the way we store films, music and data, scientists say.
The ultra-DVD is the same size and thickness as a conventional disc, but uses nano-technology to store vast amounts of information. Scientists believe that such a product can be on sale within five years.

The breakthrough comes from Swinburne University of Technology, Melbourne, Australia, where scientists created a prototype using ‘nano rods’ - tiny particles of gold too small to see - and polarised light, in which the light waves only flow in one direction, reported Daily Mail.

Min Gu, professor whose findings appear in the journal Nature, said: “We were able to show how nano-structured material can be incorporated on to a disc to increase data capacity without increasing the size of the disc.”

A convential DVD can hold up to 8.5 gigabytes (GB) of information, enough for a movie, several special features and an alternative soundtrack.

Blu-ray discs, which were designed to replace them, can store 50 GB, enough for a film and extra features in high definition. But ultra-DVDs will be able to store 10,000 GB.

A conventional DVD records music, pictures and computer files as digital code - a series of ones and zeroes. The code is written as a series of pits under the clear surface of the disc and is read by a DVD player’s laser

The new disc stores information using two extra ‘dimensions’ - the colour of light and the direction, or polarisation, of light waves.

“These extra dimensions are the key to creating ultra-high capacity discs,” said Min Gu.

To use colour, the researcher inserted rods of gold too small to see with the naked eye onto the surface of a disc.

The rods were designed to react to particular wavelengths - or colours - of light. That allowed researchers to record information in a range of different colours on the same physical area of the disc.

They were also able to add extra information by using polarised light, which is made up of light waves that vibrate in just one direction. Light that has been polarised can be blocked using a special filter.

“The polarisation can be rotated 360 degrees,” said co-author James Chon.

“So for example, we were able to record at zero degree polarisation. Then on top of that, we were able to record another layer of information at 90 degrees polarisation, without them interfering with each other.”

The researchers, who have agreed a deal with Samsung, admit recording on to ultra-DVDs is complicated and time consuming.

The discs would allow vast amount of information to be stored on a cheap, disposable disc.

Currently, people have to use portable hard disc drives to store the equivalent amount of data.

Consumers would need to buy new DVD players to use the discs - although they should be able to read the older Blu-ray and DVDs, the researcher said.

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