Surpassing Optical Limit for 28000 Times Blu-Ray Storage on a 12 Centimeter Disk

We could soon store 700 Terabytes on a 12-centimeter optical disk which would be equal to storing 28,000 Blu-ray disks. A separate advance with in data encoding could triple storage to 2.1 Petabytes in a single optical disk.

Researchers at USST, RMIT and NUS have overcome the optical diffraction limit by using earth-rich lanthanide-doped upconversion nanoparticles and graphene oxide flakes. This unique material platform enables low-power optical writing nanoscale information bits.

The higher density system will use inexpensive continuous-wave lasers. This will have lower operating costs compared to traditional optical writing techniques using expensive and bulky pulsed lasers.

Next generation of high-capacity optical data storage technology will also enable the development of energy-efficient nanofabrication of flexible graphene based electronics.

Considering a lateral separation and axial separation of 2.5 times and 8 times the achieved lateral feature size, they estimate that this scheme enables a projected maximal DVD-sized single-disc data storage capacity approaching 700 TB. Furthermore, upconversion RET requires ten thousand-fold lower beam intensity for writing of optical data bits compared with the nanostructuring of fused quartz glass. In principle, enhancing high-energy upconversion in UCNPs and tuning the content of oxygen functional groups in GO enable up to ten thousand fold improved writing efficiency for exposure times of milliseconds and energy consumption of microjoules per bit. Multifocal array techniques enable throughputs of up to ~2.3 Gbps by detecting 450-nm upconversion luminescence.

Science Advances – Nanoscale optical writing through upconversion resonance energy transfer

Nanoscale optical writing using far-field super-resolution methods provides an unprecedented approach for high-capacity data storage. However, current nanoscale optical writing methods typically rely on photoinitiation and photoinhibition with high beam intensity, high energy consumption, and short device life span. We demonstrate a simple and broadly applicable method based on resonance energy transfer from lanthanide-doped upconversion nanoparticles to graphene oxide for nanoscale optical writing. The transfer of high-energy quanta from upconversion nanoparticles induces a localized chemical reduction in graphene oxide flakes for optical writing, with a lateral feature size of ~50 nm (1/20th of the wavelength) under an inhibition intensity of 11.25 MW cm−2. Upconversion resonance energy transfer may enable next-generation optical data storage with high capacity and low energy consumption, while offering a powerful tool for energy-efficient nanofabrication of flexible electronic devices.

SOURCES- Science Advances, University of Shanghai For Science and Technology
Written by Brian Wang,

20 thoughts on “Surpassing Optical Limit for 28000 Times Blu-Ray Storage on a 12 Centimeter Disk”

  1. I see your point for storage.

    Though I wonder why anyone would want to put all the time and resources into developing a storage system if they weren't going to charge for it.

  2. Yeah, that won't work at all. It costs more than $250. Flash cards are far too expensive to compete with optical.

    A blank Blu-ray disc costs less than one dollar in bulk. One dollar. A blank 4K UHD Blu-ray disc might cost more than a dollar, but it will be less than two bucks. A DVD costs pennies. That's what flash cards have to compete with, and that's why movies are distributed on disc, not cards. It's a profoundly different cost model.

    What we need is a royalty free format that can hold about 150 GiB, with a read bitrate of about 150 Mbps, that can be mailed in a letter envelope, and costs less than a dollar per blank media. Basically, something a bit better than 4K UHD Blu-ray on capacity and bitrate, yet smaller and cheaper. It would be nice to have plenty of breathing room for rich encodings of 4K content, say over 100 Mbps, with enough capacity to fit the longest movies + special features all on one disc.

  3. You got to be kidding… Microjoules per bit.. That would mean MW of power if writing at a decent speed of 1Gb per second.

    This is an absolute dead end unless they can reduce the energy to write the bits by at least 5 orders of magnitude.

  4. also, density increase of 2.5x by 8x is only a 40x improvement in storage density, not 28,000x.

  5. "projected maximal"
    "compared with the nanostructuring of fused quartz glass"

    so what's actually achievable today, and is there a feasible chance that costs could be competitive with DVD/BD/flash?

  6. I like to eliminate dependencies like the internet. I want to be able to watch great movies during a zombie apocalypse. Imagine how ridiculous it would be during a collapse to not be able to watch movies because Netflix ops went down with the crash, attack, virus, etc. To not be able to watch movies because no one owns any movies, because we depend on third-party streaming companies to stick their needles in us in real-time…

    And in this emerging era of censorship and deplatforming I think it's extremely important to have and distribute content in physical form.

    Also, there still aren't any of the DVD or Blu-ray extra features in streaming. I assume that will change though. One example of such change is the release of Extended versions of The Office episodes for Season 3 on Peacock, NBC's new streaming service. That might be exclusive to Peacock, not available on disc sets.

    A lot of content is actually not even available via streaming, which is surprising. We subscribe to every major streaming service, and none of them offers Without a Trace, for example, not even the original network's own app. And I had to buy the DVDs for the Ali G show, because it's simply not offered by any streaming service, not even FX(X), which had aired the show in the US for a while. Any Canadian or British show is usually impossible to stream unless they've partnered with an American service, and even then it might only be available for a limited time.

    Re: reliability, I always use wired.

  7. Yeah, and this includes the plastic sleeve!
    I really don't get why we can't have iPhones with 2 or 3 TB of on board memory.

  8. At first reading your comment I thought, "Royalties aren't what slowed adoption, streaming did that. I don't even know what I'd want a blu-ray for at any capacity/cost." But in your last sentence you mentioned quality and reliability and I have to admit physical has some charms.

    I must be wrong, but it feels like internet reliability hasn't really been increasing much. I think I've spent 20 years resetting my wi-fi adapter.

    Netflix has definitely gotten much more efficient at their encoding, and my connection (and router and wi-fi card) has ever more bandwidth, but the computer still loses the signal a couple times a night. Different computers, routers, modems, and ISPs in different cities through the years, and even wired setups, but I've never had a truly reliable internet connection. Not sure what makes this so hard to improve.

    I know the streaming services don't like to make downloads too easy for piracy reasons, but if I could just tell the device that I'm going to be watching something in an hour so please get started throwing it all in memory ahead of time, then I think I'd be content. But failing that, yeah, sometimes something physical might be nice.

  9. For data storage, you need a metastable material and the durability of the system depends on how much energy is needed to change states. The very low write energy, combined with the lack of even a mention of the expected durability makes me think that this could be a real problem for this tech. This might be better for enclosed, protected platters than removeable media.

  10. It would be nice to have a royalty-free replacement for DVD, Blu-ray, and Ultra HD Blu-ray. The Blu-ray royalties are a major friction and have slowed adoption. Something that bumped the capacity and bitrate of Ultra HD Blu-ray by 50% or so, and could do it in half the size, would be great.

    Maybe the size of an 8 cm Mini-DVD or similar "mini-disc" formats. 200 GB capacity with a 200 Mbps read rate would be very nice and more than ample for a rich encoding of an unusually long movie (Director's Cut?) in 4K HDR, with lots of extras and features all on one tiny disc.

    The 700 TB these researchers are talking about is massively more than the above. Even just one TB on a small form factor would be a huge win if it was cheap and durable. Another possibility is to forget about the spinning disc paradigm, even mini-discs, and instead have something the size and shape of a credit card. Maybe a little smaller, though not too small or it becomes a flaw, not an advantage. (Too easy to lose, too hard to find.) The reading laser would just have to steer its beam, and there might be more than one.

    I'm still attached to physical media, even though it's less popular now, because of the higher quality image, reliability (not being stymied by ISP or router problems), and maybe the ownership aspect. Those first two reasons will become less and less of an issue as streaming content gets better and internet becomes more reliable, but I still like physicality, especially for archiving.

  11. The solution to that issue is to encrypt the stored data, and keep in the encryption keys in mutable storage. Throw away the key is then the solution. This is already a common approach for GDPR right to be forgotten requests, for cost reasons (mutating long-term storage typically moves the data into a twice as expensive storage regime).

  12. It makes sense for Facebook, Instagram etc that have to store old, rarely used images on slow compact permanent storage like this rather than volatile hard disks. But that means that if an image is deleted by an end user, it's never truly deleted.

  13. has a blurb about a new optical antenna, and a new meta-lens can shift focus without tilting or moving

  14. It would be great for archiving vast amounts of raw data that will be produced in the near future. It would help a lot if it also is stable and lasts a long time.

  15. Wasn't there already technology that could write a smaller dot by using two laser beams by only burning the data where the beams overlapped?

    The problem wasn't that they couldn't massively increase data density, it's that they couldn't get the beam small enough to read the data back.

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