Next-gen optical disk holds 10TB of data for 600 years

Scientists from Australia and China have used gold nanomaterials to demonstrate a new high-capacity optical disk able to hold data securely for more than 600 years, while using 1,000 times less power.

“All the data we’re generating in the Big Data era – over 2.5 quintillion bytes a day – has to be stored somewhere, but our current storage technologies were developed in different times,” said lead investigator, RMIT’s Distinguished Professor Min Gu. “While optical technology can expand capacity, the most advanced optical disks developed so far have only 50-year lifespans.

“Our technique can create an optical disk with the largest capacity of any optical technology developed to date, and our tests have shown it will last over half a millennium. While there is further work needed to optimise the technology – and we’re keen to partner with industrial collaborators to drive the research forward – we know this technique is suitable for mass production of optical disks, so the potential is staggering.”

The world is shifting from Big Data towards Long Data, which enables new insights to be discovered through the mining of massive datasets that capture changes in the real world over decades and centuries.