Israeli Tech Firm Develops New Optical Disc Format

CHATSWORTH, Calif. - A British technology news board has reported that Israeli firm Mempile is close to breaking through with a new optical disc capable of holding 1 terabyte (TB), or 1000 gigabytes (GB), of data — 20 times the maximum capacity of Sony's Blu-ray Disc, and over 33 times that of HD DVD.

Known as the TeraDisc, the innovation uses 200 layers of 5GB storage material, each five microns apart and completely transparent to the red lasers used to read and write them. According to Mempile's chief marketing officer, Dr. Beth Erez, the discs will last 50 years and could be on the market by 2009.

"The TeraDisc is made of a material which is highly responsive to two-photon writing and reading," Erez told website The Future of Things ( "However, many other properties of the material have to be optimized to allow this to work properly. Especially the written points — written layers have to remain transparent after writing, without which it would be very difficult for the reading process.

"When a red laser is focused to a small spot inside the TeraDisc," Erez continued, "we can choose if we probe the state of this material [read] or alter it [write]. This is very similar to the way a regular CD-R works, except for the fact that this is now done in 3D."

Prototypes of the TeraDisc have been able to hold up to 800GB of data, and once Mempile has broken the 1TB barrier, the company says it plans to begin developing a blue laser-based 5TB disc. With a 1TB disc, it would be possible to store: 212 DVD-quality movies, 250,000 MP3 files or 1 million large Word documents.