This Giga Disc puts your PC’s storage to shame with a retro vibe

A hand holding an optical disc in front of an out of focus tree
Credit: Phil Hearing

A hand holding an optical disc in front of an out of focus tree
Credit: Phil Hearing

A dual-layer DVD can hold around 7.8GB of storage, the quadruple-layer Blu-ray discs you stuff in your Xbox Series X and PS5 disc drive hold up to 128GB of storage. Putting all of that to shame, a team of scientists have created a 100-layer Giga Disc capable of storing almost 200 terabytes of storage Phillips and Sony could only dream of.

A team of scientists at the University of Shanghai for Science and Technology found a way to massively increase the amount of storage possible on an optical disc. Using 3D planar recording - thanks, TechSpot, the massive discs are able to hold 1.6 Petabits of data.

Designed for use by enterprises, the new discs use a “highly transparent, uniform photoresist film doped with aggregation-induced emission dye and stimulated by femtosecond lasers”. I have no idea what that means, but it sounds very scientific.

Impressively, the actual size of the Giga Disc (an unofficial name we’ve granted to the cool optical tech) isn’t bigger than a current DVD or blu-ray. Despite having hundreds of layers, the incredibly thin film is packed in at a single micrometer each. However, this could mean a deep scratch would be deadly.

So far, the biggest issue with the new optical technology is that we don’t have optical drives fast enough to read and effectively search through the new discs. For example, 100GB 4K Blu-ray Discs need to read at 144 Mbit/s, and they’re much smaller than these Giga Discs.

The team behind the new technology hopes that it can one day be used to give normal people the ability to hold onto years worth of photo and video memories that can be stored like a physical private archive. Furthermore, with the discs rated to last up to 50 years, the Giga Disc could be an integral component for the future of mass data storage.

With DNA storage and other methods of keeping data in development, the new optical technology may not take off as much as DVD die-hards will hope. However, it’s still cool to see just how far the technology can still be pushed.

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