Researchers Find Way to Put 1.6 TB on a DVD

With hard drives hitting 2 TB, our dual-layer DVD burners are starting to look mighty limited. While Blu-ray Disc burners will be making their way into high-end computers soon, it won’t be long until even 50 GB seems puny.

Researchers from Melbourne's Swinburne University of Technology claims to have developed an optical recording technique that it says can place a theoretical 1.6 TB on a DVD-sized disc. This is done by adding extra dimensions to the recording surface.

To be precise, the extra dimensions are the wavelength and polarization of light, which integrate with the familiar three spatial dimensions creates true five-dimensional recording within one volume.

According to the journal article from Nature, “The new system makes use of surface plasmon resonance (SPR)-mediated photothermal reshaping of a substrate of gold nanorods immersed in a polymer layer. Crosstalk-free readout is via two-photon luminescence. Immediate applications can be found in security patterning and multiplexed optical storage.”

According to a BBC report, the Australian research team is now working with Samsung to develop a drive that can both read and write using the new method.

“The optical system to record and read 5-D is very similar to the current DVD system,” says James Chon, a co-author on the research. “Therefore, industrial scale production of the compact system is possible.”

All-new equipment is needed to manufacture discs on the new format, which is a barrier for the technology’s adoption. The researchers cite the eventual industry investment into the switch Blu-ray Disc as an example of how their technology could someday be crowned the next optical format.

Marcus Yam
Marcus Yam served as Tom's Hardware News Director during 2008-2014. He entered tech media in the late 90s and fondly remembers the days when an overclocked Celeron 300A and Voodoo2 SLI comprised a gaming rig with the ultimate street cred.
  • erafael
    1.6 TB on a DVD!
    Somebody did a marvelous job.I wonder how the industry would respond to this and how this technology is going to evolve.looking forward!
  • Luscious
    Didn't one of the major manufacturers already announce a 6-layer BD disc a while ago? Seems like old news!
  • rags_20
    That was a 20 layer one. Anyway, I think this technology is very...unstable. What I mean is, there could be frequent read/write errors.
  • cheepstuff
    information overload!
    thats like taking a platter out of a HDD and covering it in a coat of plastic... good luck getting a cheep burner for one of those.
  • I have heard about multi-layer miracle discs at least 10 or more times over the years. They never come to pass. I remember Constellation 3d back in 2001. They had supposedly perfected fluorescent multi-layer writing and could do 5gb per layer. They were working on 100 layer discs (500GB per). The company was run by thieves who milked its treasury and took the investors for a ride. Take this one with a grain of salt. New battery technologies are also infamously fallible.
  • starryman
    And yet my DVD burners (LiteOn, Pioneer, Samsung, LG) continue to make more coasters than I have cups. I'll believe this when they can at least make the current DVD burners more reliable.
  • i bet its not even reliable... like most discoveries .... 3-4-5+ layers.... im sure there is a lots of errors and 1 scratch... and its over...
  • salem80
    great new DVD's still live
  • Article title misleadingly insinuates current DVD disc and recorders can be used.
  • flinxsl
    erafael1.6 TB on a DVD!Somebody did a marvelous job.I wonder how the industry would respond to this and how this technology is going to evolve.looking forward!
    more like... someone solved an equation. note that it says "theoretical"