Mempile announced the next-generation optical storage technology with the release of the TeraDisc that boasts up to 1TB of storage capacity on a single platter. While it’s still in concept with an expected alpha testing to start in 12-18 months, the technology shows a ton of promise. It was recently demonstrated in Japan and Mempile was able to record and read over 100 virtual layers on a single optical disc the size of a DVD.
The technology isn’t expected to hit the consumer market until 2010, but the thought of recording 1TB on one disc is pretty amazing. The initial consumer discs will be around 500GB, but the technology is there and once consumers embrace the new discs it won’t be long before we see the high-capacity discs hit the market.
I briefly spoke to Beth Erez, EVP and Chief Marketing Officer for Mempile and what I learned left me wishing I didn’t have to wait till 2010. The technology behind the high-capacity disc is pretty hot, too, if you’re into that sort of thing.
Mempile’s volumetric high-capacity solution is based on advanced materials technology, implemented to create an optical media with unique light-sensitive properties. Mempile has developed a molecule (a chromophore) that interacts with light through the nonlinear optical process of two-photon absorption and is capable of switching between two distinct states upon application of light.
Nonlinear effects are characterized by a very strong dependence on local laser intensity. Thus, when focusing light within Mempile’s material, only the volume that is in the vicinity of the focal point will interact with the laser. Areas above and below the focal point are transparent to, and have almost no interaction with, the laser. This depth-focusing characteristic enables the reading and writing of data on numerous virtual layers within the bulk of the material, resulting in significantly increased data capacity.
Mempile’s solution has been designed from the ground up to utilize existing manufacturing methods and physical infrastructure. Its proprietary light-sensitive chromophore is specifically for volumetric storage purposes and is easily and cost-effectively synthesized to create a polymer from which optical media are manufactured. The technology has similarly been developed to be easily integrated into network storage solutions as the third-tier archiving component.