A breakthrough invention and patent in nanotechnology will keep data storage technology in touch with its ever-increasing requirements of mass data storage well into this millennium.
Michael E. Thomas, President of Colossal Storage Corporation, is the inventor of rewritable ferroelectric molecular optical storage nanotechnology which could become a pioneering development in the technology of mass data storage.
Thomas, who has over 30 years of experience in pioneering work in data storage technologies, foresees the need to keep in touch with the ever-increasing size requirements of data storage. "In 1974 I was making 5 Megabyte disk packs - the biggest at that time in the world. At the same time, IBM, Burroughs, Honeywell, and other Computer professionals said no one would ever need that much storage," Thomas said.
Present magnetic storage technology is expected to become obsolete, because as Thomas points out, "hard drives of today will be reaching their paramagnetic limit - or maximum data storage capacity - in the next few years." While the need to develop a technology that could keep up with the world's data storage needs was evident, a new approach was needed.
To understand the paramagnetic limit of magnetic storage technology, one must understand that hard drives write and read data in a serial format, meaning that data is read and written one bit at a time. The maximum data transfer rate of a hard drive read/write head is approximately 320 megabits/sec. Furthermore, hard drives have been operating in the two dimensions for the last 40 years. 2D Area Technology is technology that only allows the peripheral device to read/write the surface of the disk, tape, card, or drum.
Thomas professes to have found the new approach to these limitations, however. His solution is a holographic data storage system based on an "atomic switch", essentially changing matter at the molecular level.
Although the physics behind the technology are extremely complex, Thomas introduces his concept by saying, "For the first time a functional method for programmable molecular lenses will exist, allowing incoming light to be rejected, modified internally, or allowed to pass unaltered through a transparent lens known as disk, tape, card, drum, film, etc.
"By being able to program optical lenses, many applications based on light and color can be developed, such as holographic storage, bio-terror detection devices, optical electronics, security products, and hundreds of other products never seen before on the world's markets," Thomas said, anticipating Atomic Holographic Nanotechnology to spill over into hundreds of other electro-optical applications.
"The changing state of the molecule and the diffracted photons allow for a group of light and dark lines to be characterized as 3D data. 3D Volume means reading and writing billions of bits at one time in Volume (x,y,z)," Thomas said. From these findings, the concept of an atomic or molecular switch by "Photon/Laser Induced Electric Field Poling" was born.
The discovery means that one 10 terabyte to 100 terabyte 3.5 inch FerroElectric disk would be the equivalent of a 10,000 to 100,000 Gigabyte disk drive. "That's greater 1,000 times any state of the art hard disk technology with 100 Gigabytes on one disk," Thomas claims. Although it is still too early to worry about prices, the expected cost of the Atomic Holographic DVR disc drive will be from $570 to $750 with the replacement discs estimated at $45.
Thomas' developments in nanotechnology may well be the solution to the world's current data issues which will solve future storage problems as well. However, there are still many research and development unknowns for this new atomic holographic optical storage system, but Thomas, who has taken out several patents on the technology, is confident his revolutionary concept will set the standard for mass data storage for years to come.