Romanian scientist plans 10 T-byte optical disc

A “hyper-CD-ROM” drive with 10T bytes of storage capacity could be commercially available within a year, its inventor said Thursday.

The drive allows the recording of data on fluorescent photosensitive glass discs 10 millimetres thick and 120 millimetres in diameter, said independent Romanian scientist Eugen Pavel. “It’s a huge technology with many uses.”

The technology is based on the phenomenon of “controlled extinction of fluorescence,” he said: in order to record a bit of data, a selected area of the photosensitive glass is exposed to radiation, which changes the level of its fluorescence. Unlike conventional CD-ROMs, which are written only on the surface, data can be written on over 10,000 levels within the “hyper-CD-ROM” disk, he said, meaning a single disk can hold the equivalent of 10 million standard printed books.

He called the “hyper-CD-ROM” drive a very stable storage medium over time, capable of withstanding high temperatures and surviving the lifetime of the glass, or at least 5,000 years.

The drive, which was initially developed for military purposes, could be increasingly useful for both commercial and private users, said Pavel, who demonstrated the device at the Brussels Eureka Fair in November 1999.

He said he has made arrangements with a manufacturer to distribute his technology, but declined to give details.

The U.S. company Constellation 3D Inc. announced a similar technology, called Fluorescent Multi-layer Discs (FMDs) in a “white paper” dated June 7, 2000. According to a statement, the company plans to demonstrate several products based on the technology this month and next month.

Eugen Pavel can be reached online at Constellation 3D is at