Company Develops Terabyte-Scale Capacity Optical Data Storage Discs
1 May 2014
Case Western Reserve University (CWRU) in Cleveland, Ohio, has licensed Folio Photonics, a start-up company spun off from research in the university, to commercialize its data storage technology.
The company is currently developing next-generation, terabyte scale capacity optical data storage discs at the site. Its technology depends on the effective use of polymer co-extrusion, a manufacturing method that allows data storage in layers. Folio's trademark process uses thin, flexible polymer film that can be cut and laminated to discs, so that 64 extremely thin layers that can be read on hardware created for that purpose.
The first prototypes using the Folio technology are expected to be launched within 18 to 24 months. According to Mike Allan, senior licensing officer at CWRU, the company has secured funding from various sources. One is the Ohio Third Frontier Technology Validation and Start-up Fund, which approved a $100,000 grant last year, subject to completion of the exclusive license agreement.
A terabyte scale disc could revolutionize the $30 billion data storage market, which currently relies mainly on hard drives and magnetic tapes. Until recently a gigabyte was considered a large volume of data in the industry. A terabyte is 1,000 gigabytes. Once the technology goes commercial, a Folio disc could store the equivalent of 50 Blu-ray movies.
The company's focus, however, is not the entertainment industry, but rather increasing storage and access to archival data - a vital need for cloud storage, business and government. According to Folio founder Kenneth D. Singer, also the university's Ambrose Swasey Professor of Physics, optical data storage provides an inexpensive, energy-friendly, long-term storage solution for that.