As flash drives become more ubiquitous and software installers increasingly moving to online downloads, optical drives have lost most of their relevancy. Even so, Fujifilm’s engineers are hard at work on new optical disc technology. The new technology would allow discs to store up to 1TB of data by 2015 with the expectation that it can scale to 15TB in the future with multi-layer, double sided discs.
With the new discs, Fujifilm is using a multi-layer disc that has recording and material layers sandwiched between each other. The company is using a Ti/S laser rated at 405nm to write the data to the disc. The laser heats the surface of the disc, and a two-photon absorption method is used to record data using a conves shapes. To read the data, the drive measures the reflectivity of the recording layer as the laser hits the convex shapes. It uses the reflectance ratio of the laser hitting the recorded area versus the non-recorded areas on the recording layer to get the 1 and 0s necessary to store and read the binary data.
Fujifilm has stated that the technology currently acheives 25GB per layer, which is similar to existing Blu ray discs. However, Fujifilm’s discs can pack many more layers. As many as 20 layers per side of the disc are believed possible, which would provide 500GB for a single-sided disc or 1TB for a double-sided optical disc. The company is aiming to produce commercially available 1TB discs by 2015, and plans to pursue scaling the technology to 15TB (and beyond) discs in the future. One of the major issues is that it is currently a write-once technology, which means that it is not rewriteable like current disc technologies.
It is an interesting technology that might be handy for businesses looking for an alternative to tape, but the drives and discs will likely be expensive. Especially since high-capacity flash drives are continually dropping in price. Are you still using an optical (DVD, Blu ray) drive, and would you use a 1TB if they were available?
Tech On has put together an article that explains the intracacies of the new optical technology that is worth a read if you are interested in the nitty-gritty details.
Image courtesy Dwayne Bent via Flickr Creative Commons.