Five-Dimensional DVD Could Hold Data of 30 Blu-ray Discs

May 21, 2009 by Lisa Zyga weblog
Recorded with multiple dimensions of light and layers, a 5D DVD could have a data capacity of 1.6 terabytes. Image credit: James Chon/Swinburne University of Technology.

(PhysOrg.com) -- While many people think that Blu-ray will replace DVDs in the near future, a new study shows that DVDs may still have a lot to offer. Researchers have designed a five-dimensional DVD that can store 1.6 terabytes of data on a standard-size DVD, which is the equivalent of about 30 Blu-ray discs. The 5D DVDs could also be compatible with current DVD disc-drive technology.

The researchers, led by microphotonics researcher James Chon from the Swinburne University of Technology in Hawthorn, Australia, have presented the new DVD high-density data storage technique in a recent issue of Nature. While scientists have been considering 3D optical data storage for a while, this is the first time data has been recorded and read in five dimensions: three dimensions of stacked layers, and two new dimensions of wavelength (color) and polarization.

The new disc is made of three thin glass films stacked on top of each other, each coated with a solution containing gold nanorods of three different sizes. To record on the disc, the researchers focused a laser on the films, heating the nanorods so that they melted into spheres (marking the switch from 0 to 1). However, the rod-to-sphere transition depends on the wavelength and polarization of light. of the three different sizes absorb different wavelengths, and must be aligned with the direction of the light's polarization to turn into spheres.

These multiple variables mean that the same volume of space can hold multiple bits in multiple ways, the researchers explain. For instance, a space that responds to three different colors and two different polarizations can hold six bits. To read the bits, the researchers scanned the surface of the disc with a laser of lower energy but the same wavelength and polarization used during writing, identifying which areas had been previously melted with that light and which hadn't.

The researchers demonstrated the write and read technique on a small area of the disc, but predict that the disc could store 140 gigabytes of information per cubic centimeter. Since the volume of a typical DVD-sized disc was about 12 cm^3, the total data capacity would be 1.6 terabytes. Adding an extra dimension, say by using another , could increase the storage capacity to 7.2 terabytes - about 140 times the capacity of a Blu-ray, which can store around 50 gigabytes.

The researchers are currently working with Samsung on the technology, and hope that it could be commercially available in the next 5 to 10 years. However, commercializing the technology will be challenging. For instance, it might be difficult to read the disk quickly because the information is packed so densely. Also, the large, expensive titanium-sapphire femtosecond laser used in the study is not practical, although the researchers say that a cheaper laser diode could also work.

More information: Peter Zijlstra, James W. M. Chon, and Min Gu. "Five-dimensional optical recording mediated by surface plasmons in gold nanorods." Nature 459, 410-413 (21 May 2009), doi:10.1038/nature08053

© 2009 PhysOrg.com

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User comments : 14

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gopher65
3.3 / 5 (4) May 21, 2009
Ah yes, and we see Sony's folly yet again. They decided to start a format war for no good reason (well, it was because they were still angry about Betamax, but eh...), and bumped back the uptake of a hi-def DVD format for several years. Now we are seeing the result of that. In a few years a new storage technology, whether it is this *points up* or HVD or something else entirely, will replace Bluray, and Sony will have spent many billions on R&D and marketing for no reason.

Go Sony! ;)
superhuman
3.7 / 5 (3) May 21, 2009
It's 3d not 5d, the fact that we can see color doesn't add another dimension to our world.

And if we were to use their twisted definition every color CRT tv could be called a five dimensional medium since the screen is not flat and we have color and brightness.
holoman
3.3 / 5 (4) May 21, 2009
Can you say betamax !

I wont buy anything less than 12 dimensions.
freemind
5 / 5 (3) May 21, 2009
It's 3d not 5d, the fact that we can see color doesn't add another dimension to our world.

Well, it's purely scientific to consider other dimensions than physical coordinates. Following your logic we wouldn't call time a forth dimension, although it's widely used in physics.
wawadave
3.5 / 5 (2) May 21, 2009
With 5 dimensions just how many rootkits can sony hide?
Bob_Kob
3 / 5 (2) May 22, 2009
It's 3d not 5d, the fact that we can see color doesn't add another dimension to our world.

And if we were to use their twisted definition every color CRT tv could be called a five dimensional medium since the screen is not flat and we have color and brightness.


Idiot. Its talking about topographical dimensions, not spatial ones.
jac7911
not rated yet May 22, 2009
Where do i place my order?
superhuman
4 / 5 (3) May 22, 2009
Idiot. Its talking about topographical dimensions, not spatial ones.

There is no such thing as "topographical dimension" idiot.

The authors talk about dimension of the abstract space described by the data but this is not what is normally meant by dimension, all the recorded information including color and polarization is stored in a three dimensional spatial pattern of tubes and spheres.
Bob_Kob
4 / 5 (2) May 22, 2009
Yeah obviously it is stored in 3 dimensions. You can't really store it in the time dimension. But if you had any clue you would've made the deduction that dimension of the article referred to separate channels to store information to. Multilayered DVDs can be considered 'multidimensional'.

And look up the definition of topography scrub.
John_balls
3.5 / 5 (4) May 22, 2009
1.6 terabytes, wow, thats a lot of porn. (:
Sanescience
5 / 5 (1) May 22, 2009
Holographic volumetric storage will crush all these archaic motorized "spin the media" devices. Give me solid state devices!
gopher65
3.7 / 5 (3) May 23, 2009
Sanescience: So instead of an HVD you want an Optilithic Data Rod?;). Me too. Spinning media has inherent problems, because the read and write rates are self-limited (to a degree) by the very fact that the disc is spinning. There comes a point where you just can't spin it any faster:P (mostly due to vibrations).
Palli
4 / 5 (1) May 23, 2009
It's 3d not 5d, the fact that we can see color doesn't add another dimension to our world.


And if we were to use their twisted definition every color CRT tv could be called a five dimensional medium since the screen is not flat and we have color and brightness...

Yes if the tv displayed all available channels at once, each in different color and brightness level.
1.6 terabytes, wow, thats a lot of porn. (:

...and if we could watch it all at once! :D
Egnite
not rated yet May 27, 2009
1.6 terabytes, wow, thats a lot of porn. (:


That's a hell of a lot of porn!! Rough estimate, say a 2hr HD film is 15gb, u'll get about 106hrs (4.4days) worth of HD porn on one disc. wow. But how long would that take to burn? Sounds more like a good back-up medium rather than a dvd format imo.