Single nanodisc with storage capacity of 2,000 DVDs in offing

May 22nd, 2009 - 12:03 pm ICT by IANS  

Sydney, May 22 (IANS) Futuristic nanodiscs with 2,000 times the storage capacity of current DVDs are just around the corner, thanks to new research.
The discs would be invaluable for storing vastly large medical files such as MRIs and could also provide a boon in the financial, military and security arenas.

Researchers from the Swinburne University of Technology (SUT) Centre for Micro-Photonics have demonstrated how nanotechnology can enable the creation of ‘five dimensional’ discs with huge storage capacities.

The research, carried out by SUT’s Peter Zijlstra, James Chon and Min Gu, demonstrated how nanoparticles exponentially increased the amount of information embedded on a single disc.

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

Discs currently have three spatial dimensions, but using nanoparticles the Swinburne researchers were able to introduce a spectral - or colour - dimension as well as a polarisation dimension.

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

To create the ‘colour dimension’ the researchers inserted gold nanorods onto a disc’s surface. Because nanoparticles react to light according to their shape, this allowed the researchers to record information in a range of different colour wavelengths on the same physical disc location.

This is a major improvement on current DVDs that are recorded in a single colour wavelength using a laser, said a SUT release.

The researchers were also able to introduce an extra dimension onto the disc using polarisation. When they projected light waves onto the disc, the direction of the electric field contained within them aligned with the gold nanorods. This allowed the researchers to record different layers of information at different angles.

Some issues, such as the speed at which the discs can be written on, are yet to be resolved. However the researchers - who have already signed an agreement with Samsung - are confident the discs will be commercially available within five to 10 years.

These findings were published in Thursday’s edition of Nature.

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